I hope George Osborne and the Treasury will cut the train commuter some slack in the upcoming budget.
As a member of the Transport Select Committee, I know that this Government is investing more in our railways than any Government since the Victorian era in an effort to sort out Labour’s lack of investment. But we can’t just pass the costs on to the hard pressed Manchester commuter.
In 13 years, Labour’s record on Trains and Trams was shocking. They delayed the Metrolink extension locally, and electrified just 10 miles of track, compared to the 800 miles promised by this Government.
After Labour raised fares by a crippling 66 per cent in cash terms between 1997 and 2010, Britain has the most expensive railway network in Europe, up to 30 per cent more than our nearest competitors.
Last year, Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander negotiated a RPI+1% fare rise for 2012, much lower than planned by some Conservatives. I hope they will do at least as much this budget.