In the middle of a cost of living crisis, the finances of my Stockport constituents are being stretched further following the announcement that rail fares will be hiked by another 3.8%. 

With the Government now setting rail fares after emergency funding during the pandemic, their decision means that average fares will rise by an eye-watering 48.9% more than they were in 2010. That is well above inflation during the same period and will leave millions across the country wondering how they can factor in the rise, alongside stagnating wages.

Hitting rail users as we try to emerge from the pandemic, as well as transition to greener forms of transport, is short-sighted and wrong.

It’s also penalising all those who rely on public transport to travel around the region, benefitting our local economy. For example, travelling between Manchester and Liverpool will increase by £105 a year, with a season ticket now costing a wallet-busting £2,865. That is completely unacceptable.

Passengers are paying more and more each year to travel on increasingly overcrowded and unreliable trains, which is compounded by the fact that average fares have risen twice as fast as wages.

This is just the latest example of the Government rail betrayal and will price people off our railways.

Labour recently forced a vote in the House of Commons demanding Boris Johnson reverses the North’s rail betrayal; however, Conservative MPs including those in red wall seats in the North West, voted against plans to force the Prime Minister to stick to his promises.

That means the manifesto pledge to build the HS3 line between Manchester and Leeds, as well as the eastern leg of HS2, will now be broken. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham rightly pointed out that the cuts will leave the north of England behind for the next 100 years.

So a once-in-a-generation chance to transform opportunity across the whole country, rebalancing the economy and making it work for working people, looks set to be lost.

The worst part is that the communities who’ve been worst hit by years of broken promises, empty words and little to no Government action, are at the same time being squeezed by the Conservatives’ tax hikes and rising bills, as those with the broadest shoulders remain largely untouched.

Boris Johnson was elected on a promise to level the playing field, to make things better for households across the country. The reality is, the Prime Minister pocketed the support of those in regions such as the North West in the knowledge he would go back on his word.

But there is another way. 

A Labour government would reform our transport networks, so they work for everyone in Stockport who relies on them and ensure they are fit-for-purpose for the economy of the future – with investment spread more evenly across the country and young people no longer having to leave the places they grew up in to find work.

Most importantly, Labour would put working people first, using the power of government and the skill of business to ensure good quality jobs are created here in Stockport and right across the North West. 

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