Labour promise to cut train fares by 33 per cent
The Labour Party has revealed plans to reduce train fares by a third as part of its wider ambitions to nationalise the rail network.
It comes alongside other party pledges ahead of the December 12 general election to provide free train travel for under-16s, simplify pricing for those working part-time and create a state-run online booking portal which does not charge booking fees.
The party says that the plans will cost £1.5 billion per year and be funded by Vehicle Exercise Duty, which the Conservatives had planned to put toward building roads from 2020-21.
Labour’s belief is that nationalising the railways, which it targets for completion within five years of assuming power, will put a cap on rail fares and make train services more reliable.
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: "Privatisation has created one of the most complex, exploitative and expensive ticketing systems in the world.
"Labour will scrap the bewildering and outdated fares and ticketing system that discriminates against part-time workers, discourages rail travel and excludes the young and low-paid.”
However, Transport secretary Grant Shapps called the pledge a “desperate” ploy to divert attention from Labour’s Brexit policy.
Shapps said: “This is another desperate attempt from Labour to distract from their inability and unwillingness to be straight with people on where they stand on Brexit, and the fact they would raise taxes on low and middle-income workers across the country.
"You simply cannot trust [Jeremy] Corbyn to deliver what he claims. His ideological plans would wreck our economy, cost people their livelihoods and with the help of Nicola Sturgeon, would waste the whole of next year on two more chaotic referendums."
The Conservatives have their own plans to improve transport links as part of their £3.6 million Towns Fund, with additional investment of £500 million to reverse longstanding cuts to the railway network alongside further funding to local authorities to improve bus and rail services.
The Liberal Democrats have also unveiled their plans for transport, saying they will freeze peak-time and season ticket train prices for the next five years and abolish the 2.7 per cent rise in rail ticket prices which will come into force on January 2 2020.
The Lib Dems have also said that they will press on with completing the controversial HS2 rail project, while The Brexit Party and the Green Party have both promised to cancel it.