Transport secretary refuses to rule out 3.8% fares increase
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has refused to deny that rail fares are set to rise by 3.8 per cent in March 2022, which would be in accordance with inflation last July. Mr Shapps was challenged in the House of Commons by Labour’s new shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh. She asked: ‘Ahead of a tough Christmas, people across this country are paying the price of Tory inflation. In Dewsbury, for example, since the Conservative party came to power, the price of the commute into Leeds has risen more than three times faster than pay. Does the Secretary of State think that that is reasonable? If he does not—he failed to answer this point earlier—will he rule out the brutal 3.8% hike in rail fares rumoured for millions of passengers next year?’ He replied: ‘I am pleased that the hon. Lady mentions Dewsbury, because it gives me the opportunity to mention that it benefits much more from the integrated rail plan than the original High Speed 2 plan. She is right about inflation, but it is a global post-pandemic issue, rather than specific to this country. That is why my right hon. Friend the Chancellor announced a series of measures, including a big uplift in the living wage of 6.6 per cent, which outclasses even inflation.’ Earlier this month the Guardian reported that it had seen leaked documents confirming a 3.8 per cent increase.
TfL warns of more Underground disruption
Serious disruption is expected on five Underground lines tomorrow, said Transport for London, as the dispute with the RMT continues. There will also be no Night Tube services on the Central and Victoria Lines again this weekend, although Overground trains will run throughout the night between Highbury & Islington and New Cross Gate. The dispute concerns rosters for drivers, and TfL has repeated its assurance that there will be no job losses. The RMT has responded by accusing TfL of using the pandemic as an excuse to ‘bully’ its members.