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Nationalise rail now! Fares and profits rise as service suffers
Lisa Bainbridge, rail commuter
Rail fares are set to increase by 1.1% from January next year, set by July's 'retail price index' (RPI) inflation rate.
Being heralded by operators as the lowest increase in six years, for those who rely on the railway it's not much to celebrate. It's another reminder that when it comes to wages, pensions or benefits the lower 'consumer price index' (CPI) is considered the measure of inflation. But when it comes to private profits, the bosses insist on the much higher RPI rate.
For people who use public transport, it again means a little bit less left in the pay packet at the end of each month. It's a further reminder of how privatised rail has failed those who rely on it.
Annual turnover at South West Trains topped £1 billion this year. £11 million was paid out to shareholders. And the man in charge received an inflation-busting increase of 13% - lifting his salary to £465,000.
Meanwhile, South West passengers continue to be less than impressed with performance, with just 35% saying their ticket price offered value for money.
Tory election promises to invest are already coming off the rails, with major delays to promised upgrades. Parliament's Public Accounts Committee described the overruns and overspends as "staggering and unacceptable".
Even in the face of these failures, and 58% of the public wanting railway renationalisation, the Tories press on. The Socialist Party fights to make the public sentiment for nationalised transport a reality - with compensation paid only on the basis of proven need.
Chancellor George Osborne announced in his Autumn Statement that he will sell a further £1.8 billion worth of Network Rail assets.
The Tories are all too ready to use taxpayer money to bail out private firms when it all goes wrong. It seems more zero-risk, dividend-paying investments are on the horizon for capitalists.
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