Ipswich: Politicians clash over rising cost of commuters’ rail fares

IPSWICH: Proposals to increase rail fares for passengers travelling to London have come under fire from the Labour Party which accused the government of forcing prices up by reducing support for the industry.

The price of season tickets for those with an annual Travelcard from Ipswich – which includes the London Underground – has gone up today by 6.8per cent to �6,060.

The basic season ticket has gone up by 5.2pc to �5,300.

The rises were condemned by Ipswich council Labour transport spokesman Phil Smart, who is a regular commuter.

He said: “The Tory-led government has hit Ipswich commuters hard by reversing the decision Labour took in government to force train companies to apply price controls to fares individually.

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“This is a real blow to local commuters just as they are facing the squeeze from wage freezes, a VAT rise and cuts to child benefit. It’s just not fair on hard-working local families and individuals.

“In opposition the Tories said that an increase in rail fares of this amount would price people off the railways. These increases make a mockery of the Tories ‘green travel’ policies.”

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Ipswich Conservative MP Ben Gummer said he was disappointed at the level of some of the rises that had been introduced.

He and other East Anglian Conservative MPs had sought a meeting with transport ministers to discuss the future of the rail franchise when it is re-awarded next year.

However he felt it was right for rail users to pay the bulk of the costs associated with running the rail system.

Mr Gummer said: “I don’t think it is right that those on low income or on the minimum wage should see their taxes go up to increase the subsidy for rail travel.”

n Is the fare increase too steep? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or alternatively you can send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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