The latest bribe to the electorate from the Labour Party is a promise to cut rail fares by one third. This would be financed by diverting income the Government receives from Vehicle Excise Duty to the railways.
Motorists already pay much more in taxes than are spent on the roads (see https://www.abd.org.uk/road-investment-and-road-user-taxation-the-truth/ ). Railways have been massively subsidised ever since they were nationalised in 1947 – the “privatisation” of the railways has had little impact on that although rail passengers have been paying relatively more of late so as to finance improvement in the infrastructure.
Diverting VED tax to subsidise rail passenger fares will mean big cuts in spending on the roads, leading to even worse traffic congestion. Meanwhile reducing rail fares by one third will have very perverse effects. For example in London and the South-East it will lead to even more long-distance commuting as rail passengers find it cheaper to travel from far afield into the capital.
In summary this proposal is just bonkers economics as resources are diverted on irrational grounds.
Why should rail passengers not pay the real cost of their travel? Anyone who thinks their cost of using a car should not subsidise unrealistic train fares now knows who not to vote for in the General Election.
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