National politics

Labour pushed up rail fares much faster than now

For the last couple of days Labour and its fellow travellers in ostensibly neutral campaign groups such as Campaign for Better Transport have been complaining loudly about rail fare rises in line with longstanding government policy. In particular Labour is trying to nail on this 27% fare rises under the Tories number.


I was wondering where this came from and how Labour did when it was in charge.

You can get the basic data at the Office of Rail and Road NRT Data Portal.

The “All tickets” index at the bottom of the sheet has moved from 176.5 in January 2010 to 218.7 in January 2016. They have inflated the 218.7 value by 2.3% (the widely quoted inflation figure for this year). This gets you to 27% in seven years 2010 to 2017. So at least Labour have used a transparent, straightforward and reasonable way of getting to their number.

How did Labour perform when it was in government? In 2003 the “All tickets” index was at 126.2. Seven year later in 2010 it was at 176.5. This gives a 40% increase in the same length of time. So Labour was much worse. Funny how they think that nationalisation under the least competent leader they have had post war is going to make things better.

All recent governments have tried to push the burden of rail costs onto passengers which, in my view, is fair enough. All recent governments have used RPI rather than CPI which is harsh. The policy has been in place since 2004. From 2004 to 2013 the limit on regulated fares was RPI+1. For the last four years the limit has been RPI. Inflation is what it is but one reason the Conservatives have outperformed Labour is that they took 4.06% out of the rise by their own choice.

We don’t hear Sadiq Khan (who was a Labour transport minister in 2009 and 2010 when Labour were asking more from commuters than the Conservatives are now) apologising for his role is Labour’s rinsing of rail commuters.

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