Rail fare rise will hit Rotherham hard—MP

BIG rail fare rises will hit Rotherham families hard, says Rotherham MP Denis MacShane.

He is urging the Transport Secretary Justine Greening not to increase rail fare prices by up to 11 per cent because it will mean South Yorkshire families and shoppers will be penalised.

Ministers say that they plan to approve a rise in rail fares of at least 6.2 per cent — which is three per cent above the current rate of inflation.

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But extra price rises by privatised rail firms to guarantee the excessive pay of directors could see prices rising by over ten per cent, the MP fears.

“This is a major blow to the ever shrinking budgets of families across the country but especially here in South Yorkshire where unemployment is rising fast and incomes are being reduced as a result of Government cuts, said Dr MacShane.

“We are seeing more and more people in South Yorkshire shopping in the four main urban areas, however, this may not be the case in the near future due to the effects of this substantial rise in rail far prices.

“The increase will weaken the local retail economy in Rotherham and South Yorkshire with more and more people becoming unable to afford to use public transport.

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“The knock-on effect of this will result in a greater number of people using their cars at a time when scores of millions of pounds have already been removed from Rotherham's economy as benefit cuts kick in for poorer citizens.”

Dr MacShane went on: “Rotherham citizens have already seen a sharp increase in utility bills, food prices and the cost of fuel added with wage freezes, but the rail fare increase is one thing that the government has direct control over whether there is an increase or not and by how much.

“The increase is currently at 6.2 per cent but this could be much higher and may even be as high as 11.2 per cent. This goes to shows how out of touch this Tory led government is with hard working families.

“It is totally unjustifiable for the government to increase fare prices at a time when the family budget is already being overstretched.”