Inflation rise leads to Lancashire fears of largest train fare rise in a decade next year

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Lancashire train passengers could be hit by the largest fares rise in a decade as inflation is tipped to rise further.

Increases are usually linked to the previous July’s Retail Prices Index measure of inflation, which was confirmed as 3.8 per cent for July 2021 by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday.

No announcement has been made on what will happen to fares next year, but ticket prices in England and Wales rose by an average of around 2.6 per cent in March, representing RPI for July 2020 plus one percentage point.

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The Scottish Government imposed smaller rises of 1.6 per cent, but a repeat of the normal policy in England and Wales next year would see fares rise by an average of 4.8 per cent, which would be the largest increase since 2012.

Fears are rising that a sharp rise in inflation could lead to 4.8 per cent train ticket rises in JanuaryFears are rising that a sharp rise in inflation could lead to 4.8 per cent train ticket rises in January
Fears are rising that a sharp rise in inflation could lead to 4.8 per cent train ticket rises in January

That would lead to hikes in the cost of annual season tickets such as: Liverpool to Manchester (any route): Up £132 to £2,892.

And the Lancashire based Federation of Small Businesses has warned that rising inflation could hamper recovery along with train tickets costs at 4.8 per cent.

The FSB's national chairman Mike Cherry said: “Unless urgently addressed, inflationary pressure will stifle recovery among the small firms that make up 99 per cent of our business community.

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“While consumer costs have cooled, it’s a different story for inputs, with producer prices continuing their upward march this month.

“Added to the rising cost of goods are the rising fees charged by shipping and courier companies, with many of our international-facing members reporting steep increases in the prices they pay to move goods around the world. Close to a quarter of small exporters have now stopped selling into the EU either temporarily or permanently, citing growing costs and admin."

A spokesman for the UK Government’s Department for Transport said: “No decision has been made on national rail fares.

“The Government is considering a variety of options and we will announce our decision in due course.”

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Analysis by the Labour Party indicated that next year average fares could rise to 50 per cent more than they were in 2010.

Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said: “Rail travel has long been unaffordable for many people, thanks to the Conservatives prioritising the profits of private companies over passengers.

“This would be yet another eye-watering hike hot on the heels of the failure of the Government’s so-called money-saving flexi ticket scheme.”

Paul Tuohy, chief executive of pressure group Campaign for Better Transport, called for fares to be frozen to reduce carbon emissions and encourage commuters to return to towns and cities.

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He said: “In the face of a climate emergency, the Government should be doing everything it can to encourage people to choose low-carbon public transport by making it the cheapest option, not hiking rail fares.”

Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions at industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said any decision on fares “should be viewed against the decade-long freeze in fuel duty and Government proposals to cut air passenger duty for domestic flights."

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