Jane East with rail campaigners at Marsden railway station
Labour campaigners were out in force in the Colne Valley to highlight rail fare rises amid what they claim is a continuing “cost of living crisis.”
Jane East, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the Colne Valley, was at Honley, Marsden and Slaithwaite railway stations speaking to early-morning commuters as many returned to work after the Christmas and new year break.
Rail fares rose by 2.2% this month and Ms East pledged that Labour would come to the aid of hard-pressed rail passengers.
Ms East said that Huddersfield to Leeds season tickets had risen by 27.5% since 2010, hitting commuters in the pocket.
“People’s wages just haven’t kept pace with the rail fare hikes we see year after year,” she said. “Who has seen their wages rise by 27.5% since 2010? No one will come anywhere close to that.”
With a General Election just four months away, Labour has promised a ‘cap’ on rail fare increases though details have not been finalised.
Currently train companies can increase fares by the rate of inflation plus 1%.
Ms East said: “Labour has made a commitment for a tough cap on regulated fares on all routes and we want to invest in the railways.
“Labour believes in the railway, particularly for rural areas. It is a public service, not just a commercial enterprise, and we should continue to subsidise the railways.”
Ms East said the existing Pacer trains – introduced in 1985 – were slow, overcrowded and out-dated and passengers deserved better value for money.
“An upgrade is definitely needed in rolling stock,” she said. “But everything takes money and it’s all about political choices.
“There is an ongoing cost of living crisis but if you can afford to give tax cuts to people earning over £150,000 you can continue to invest in the railways.”