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'Nationalise trains' says Brighton MP
Overturning privatisation of the railways could slash fares by nearly a fifth, according to an MP.
Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas made the claim during a House of Commons debate yesterda (September 5)..
Dr Lucas said bringing the railways back into public ownership, as and when current private franchises ended, could save more than £1 billion a year of taxpayers’ money.
She added, if spent in the right way, this could reduce fares by about 18%.
It came during a discussion called by Labour demanding a 1% above inflation cap on fares for 2013 and 2014 instead of the average 6.2% hike planned for January.
Speaking before the Parliament debate, Dr Lucas said: “Britain was once world famous for its trail blazing and hugely successful railways – but today’s privatised system is ripping off passengers, harming the economy and failing the environment.
“The spiralling cost of rail travel is having a huge impact on passengers in Brighton and Hove – the latest above inflation fare increases being the final straw for many commuters in my constituency.”
Dr Lucas added she had raised the case of a constituent who said the recent rail hikes had forced him to give up his job in London directly with new Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
Mr McLoughlin said he was concerned about it and would look more closely at the issue of rising fares.
He told MPs: “I’m acutely aware of the concerns passengers have about fares.
“That is why we are committed to ending the above-inflation increases as soon as we can once savings are achieved and the wider fiscal situation improves.
“A relentless focus on efficiency will help us put an end to the above-inflation increases at the earliest opportunity.”