Members of the Whitstable Labour party joined members of the RMT and early morning commuters today to protest the highest price rise on season tickets in five years. Fares will increase by 3.4% today , with season tickets up by 3.6% – more than the consumer price index inflation rate and well above average increases in annual earnings.
Since the Conservatives came to power in 2010 the cost of season tickets has increased by a staggering 32%. A standard annual season ticket from Canterbury to London now costs over £7, 188.
Labour supports investment in our train infrastructure but through a radical programme of nationalisation when rail franchises end. Figures from the TUC suggest that commuters to London spend as much as six times as much of their salary on commuting than comparable commutes in France, Italy, Germany, Belgium and Spain who are government owned.
However, local Conservative Councillor Stephen Bartley, described the idea of redistributing income gathered from people who use the service to alleviate the burden on those hardest hit as a “Ponzi scheme, not a policy”. His comment seems to forget that this is general taxation works.
The SouthEastern rail franchise ends in December 2018. Please email your experiences of the service to your Labour MP at [email protected]
On the 4th of January the Labour Group will be asking the council to consider promoting a “Community Switching” scheme for Gas and Electricity tariffs to save local residents money.
Collective or Group Switching schemes (such as www.ichoosr.co.uk) are set up to work with Community Organisations and Local Authorities who promote enrolment of residents in a Collective Switching scheme.
These schemes primarily gather the names of residents who have expressed an interest in switching energy tariffs and once signed “signed up”, the group go out to auction in the energy market several times a year, with huge leverage, and lower tariffs. The residents signed up are sent a no obligation offer a few days after the auction, it’s then up them, if they decide then the switching schemes will oil the wheels to make sure it’s hassle free.
Using the council’s reach means that even reluctant switchers can save up to £250 a year which is a lot for people on fixed and low incomes.
A very simple idea, apart from active and effective publicity, the cost is minimal and the risk sits with the Collective Switching Organisation (such as ichoosr for example). Schemes are already in place and helping hard pressed residents in several local Councils namely Dover, Dartford, Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling and Tonbridge Wells.
If you are in support of this idea or want more information please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected]