Labour admits road-building projects could be slashed to fund cutting rail fares by a THIRD – as the party REFUSES to condemn train strikes causing misery to hundreds of thousands of commuters
- Labour has made slashing rail fares its latest big-money election giveaway
- Party says regulation fares would be cut by a third after trains are nationalised
- But frontbencher Andy McDonald admits road schemes could be sacrificed
- Labour has refused to criticised South Western rail strikes causing misery
Labour today admitted that roads projects could be slashed to fund slashing rail fares by a third.
In its latest election giveaway, the party unveiled plans to nationalise train operators alongside swathes of the UK economy, and cut season ticket fares.
But shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald conceded the £1.5billion cost of the reductions would come from vehicle excise duty revenue.
And pushed on whether major roads schemes could be dropped as a result, he told Sky News: ‘We cannot road-build our way out of a climate emergency.’
The comments came as Labour refused to condemn marathon rail strikes on South Western Railway.
Hundreds of thousands of passengers are facing travel misery after the RMT union kicked off 27 days of action in the long-running dispute over guards on trains.
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald conceded the £1.5billion cost of the reductions would come from vehicle excise duty revenue
Hundreds of thousands of passengers are facing travel misery after the RMT union kicked off 27 days of action in the long-running dispute over guards on trains
Labour has refused to condemn marathon rail strikes on South Western Railway
Asked about the situation today, Mr McDonald criticised the train operator. ‘It is the right of working people to withdraw their Labour,’ he said.
Mr McDonald was grilled on Labour’s rail fare pledge, which it says would save regular commuters an average of £1,000 from January 2020.
Children aged 16 and under would also get free rail travel under Labour’s plans, while part-time workers would be guaranteed ‘fair’ fares.
Interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr McDonald said the £1.5billion cost would come from vehicle excise duty.
‘We are repurposing that fund so it becomes a sustainable transport fund,’ he said.
Mr McDonald was pressed repeatedly on which road projects would be axed or downgraded to find the money.
Asked by presenter Mishal Hussain about the A303, A30, and A358 corridor in the South West, he said: ‘I want to look at these plans.. I am aware that some of the preparations and planning for those have not been perfect.’
He again flanneled when challenged about the £1billion A1 North improvements, and the A595 in Cumbria, with Hussain saying she would ‘take that as a maybe’.
Mr McDonald eventually snapped: ‘We cannot road-build our way out of a climate emergency. That is absolutely critical.
‘We do need to make the decision. Are we serious about addressing the climate crisis?’
Jeremy Corbyn denied his policy platform amounted to a series of unrealistic giveaways as he unveiled the rail policy at Finsbury Park today.
Jeremy Corbyn posed happily with supporters at Finsbury Park – in his Islington North constituency – as down the road commuters wrestled with the strike
‘They are not giveaways, they are rebalancing what we had, which was 10 years of austerity in which living standards have often fallen, income levels have been static, and in some cases fallen, and public services have been damaged and reduced,’ he told reporters.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps described the policy as ‘another desperate attempt’ from Labour to distract voters from ‘their inability and unwillingness to be straight with people on where they stand on Brexit’ and over taxes.
‘The Conservatives will improve punctuality by integrating parts of the rail network, make ticketing and pricing more transparent and will invest £500 million in reopening branch lines closed under Labour,’ Mr Shapps said.
The Rail Delivery Group, which supports train operators, said fare levels ‘will always be a matter for elected politicians in deciding the balance of farepayer and taxpayer funding’.
‘Rail companies have been calling for some time for changes in regulation to enable an easier-to-use, better-value range of fares, but it’s a red herring to suggest that reforming fares needs a change of ownership,’ a spokesman said.
Source: Read Full Article