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Thursday, 3 March 2011

Train Commuting Costs Set to Rise and Road Maintenance Budgets Cut Spending Review Nightmare Part III:

Spending Review Nightmare Part III: Train Commuting Costs Set to Rise and Road Maintenance Budgets Cut

Workers who commute by train on main routes with regulated fares face dramatic price increases because of the coalition government’s budget cuts, travel industry experts have warned.
The Tory/Lib Dem government has announced that it will be raising the ‘fee cap’ on routes with regulated fares to 3 percent above inflation in a bid to shift some of the cost of rail subsidies it provides onto the public — even though tax money is used to already subsidise the train companies.
The rise will hit conventional commuters the hardest, as the commuter runs are specifically those with regulated fares.
In addition, the budget cuts will “prove tough for workers in the public sector,” experts have warned.
Nigel Turner, director of programme management at travel company Carlson Wagonlit, was recently quoted in the Air and Business Travel News as warning that the budget cuts will prove a “major challenge” for the government.
He said that nobody in the public sector “has been quite sure what budget they have.
“There have been huge cutbacks already on travel, just through people not knowing what they are allowed to spend. In general, they have not been travelling.”
He said he was “hopeful” that the estimated one million job cuts, which are part of the cutbacks, would not affect the travel industry “too badly.”
It is not only the rail service which is going to cost the public more. Councils across the country have been told by Transport Minister Norman Baker that they should stop "bleating" for more funds to repair road networks.
Mr Baker, a Lib Dem MP for Lewes, admitted that the roads in his constituency were “not particularly brilliant” — an understatement considering that East Sussex County Council has an estimated backlog of 20,000 potholes to repair.
Nonetheless, Mr Baker and his colleagues have overseen a £1.5 reduction in the highways maintenance budget according to East Sussex County Council as part of the overall spending review budget cuts.
And so it goes on: While train fares rise, subsidies to train companies remain; and road maintenance budgets in Britain are cut, but the increased foreign aid budget contains millions allocated to road building in Africa.
Once again, British people are put last.
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