Election: Andy McDonald pledges party will cut rail fares by 33%
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Rail fares could be hiked by the largest amount in a decade following data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The Retail Prices Index (RPI), a specific measure of inflation, was recorded today at 3.8 percent. But this could spell trouble for Britons, as it is the number in July which is typically used to calculate regulated rail fare rises.
Laura Suter, head of personal finance at AJ Bell, said: “Once again we’re seeing an RPI ripoff, as commuters are set to see rail fares rise by almost double what they would if the lower measure of inflation, CPI, was used. RPI in July, which is used to set rail fare increases next year, stands at 3.8 percent while CPI in the same month is two percent.
“This year also sees the highest RPI figure in July since 2011, when it clocked in at five percent meaning commuters will face the largest rail fare hike for a decade.
“What’s more, the RPI premium that commuters are facing is the largest for 14 years, with a difference of 1.8 percentage points between the CPI and RPI measures – a difference not seen since 2007.”
Many Britons have had time away from the daily commute within the last year due to the pandemic.
With businesses temporarily shuttering, and a Government demand for people to “stay at home” in the early stages of COVID-19, there has been less need for people to commute.
A rise to rail fares, then, may be galling for many, and could cause reluctance to travel.
A Government spokesperson, however, has said there is “no decision” which has yet been made on national rail fares.
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The Government is to consider a “variety of options” on the matter before announcing its decision.
However, experts appear less than impressed with even the prospect of a rail fare rise.
Ms Suter continued: “Commuters already paying high costs on popular routes will face further hikes, for example the commute from Oxford to London, including a London travelcard, will now clock in at almost £6,700, rising by £245, while the commute from Macclesfield to Manchester will rise by £84 to £2,284.
“The annual commute from Tunbridge Wells to London, including travel card, will leap over the £6,000 mark, rising by more than £220 to £6,033.
“Considering the RPI measure of inflation has been branded ‘flawed’ and with ‘serious shortcomings’ by the Office for National Statistics it remains baffling as to why the Government continues to clobber everyone with price hikes based on an inaccurate measure.”
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