Friday, December 30, 2011

"Rail fares are TEN times higher in UK than in Europe"

The Daily Mail reports:

Rail passengers in Britain pay up to ten times more for their tickets than their European neighbours, figures reveal today.

They come as passengers brace themselves for a fresh round of fare rises of up to 11 per cent from Monday, and against a background of worsening train punctuality.

Critics say consumers are being ‘ripped off’ by an alliance of greedy train companies and tax-hungry Treasury ministers while passengers on the Continent pay significantly less for their journeys.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

CPO Press Release on the sale of Northern Rock to Virgin Money

The Campaign for Public Ownership strongly condemns the government’s decision to sell the publicly-owned Northern Rock bank to Virgin Money for £747m, meaning an effective loss of between £400m and £650m to the British taxpayer.

The history of privatisation is littered with examples of the government short-changing the taxpayer and this is yet another one.

The government could have kept the bank in public ownership. Failing that, it could have returned Northern Rock to the mutual sector, but only at a time when the transaction would have made taxpayers a profit. While the profitable part of Northern Rock is being sold off, the taxpayer is left holding Northern Rock (Asset Management), into which was placed the company‘s bad debt. It is a classic case of privatising the profits, while nationalising the losses.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Coalition’s NHS changes ‘to cause irreparable harm’ say doctors

The BBC reports:

The overhaul of the NHS in England will cause irreparable harm, according to leading public health doctors.

In a letter to peers, who will debate the changes next week, nearly 400 public health experts said the changes must be rejected as they represented a risk to patient care and safety.

The doctors suggested it would fragment services, possibly threatening vaccination and screening campaigns.

The revelation that such influential members of the public health community have put their names to the letter comes on the day Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is to address the Conservative Party conference.

The Campaign for Public Ownership calls for peers to listen to the views of the medical profession, nurses, NHS workers and the general public and to reject the government's bill when it comes to the House of Lords next week.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Save the NHS! Write to your MP ahead of next week's vote

There's just a few days to go before the Third Reading of the government's appalling NHS Bill.

The BMA have made clear their opposition to the bill here.

It is clear that the troubled passage of the Health and Social Care Bill reflects real concern over the future direction of the health service in England…….
the BMA continues to call for the Bill to be withdrawn or, at the very least, to be subject to further, significant amendment......
We believe there continues to be an inappropriate and misguided reliance on "market forces" to shape services.

If you haven't done so already, please sign the 38 Degrees Save the NHS petition, and also write to/email your MP ahead of next week's important vote.

As Guardian commentator Seumas Milne says, we cannot allow the abolition of the NHS in all but name.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Neil Clark: Bring Back British Rail- a surefire vote winner

This article, by CPO co-founder Neil Clark, appears in the First Post.

Back in the 1990s, supporters of privatisation claimed it would lead to a reduction in the amount of government subsidy to the railways - in fact it has led to the very opposite, with private companies sucking in around five times more in public funds than the state-owned British Rail did. Effectively, taxpayers' money is going to help to boost the privately-owned rail companies' profits - no wonder Richard Branson is regularly pictured with a huge grin on his face.

If Ed Miliband were to move decisively to end this 21st century legalised version of the Great Train Robbery, he would reap a sizeable electoral dividend.

You can read the whole article here.

UPDATE: You can sign a petition to the government, calling for the renationalisation of the railways here. Please try and spare a minute or so to sign, and also tell your friends about the petition too.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Age of the £10,000 train season ticket: 'Scandalous' 30% fare increase will hit millions

Isn't rail privatisation wonderful?

The Daily Mail reports:

Rail fare rises of up to 30 per cent over the next four years were denounced today as a ‘national scandal’ that will price millions of people off trains.

The increases will herald the era of the £10,000 annual season ticket.

Passengers enduring overcrowded and late-running trains will face average rises of 8 per cent next January.

You can read the full story here.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

British Gas shareholders receive bonus while customers suffer

The Daily Telegraph reports:

Centrica, which owns Britain’s biggest gas and electricity company, announced profits of £1.3 billion for the past six months, including £270 million for British Gas.

The company is going ahead with a 12 per cent rise in payouts to shareholders, despite the price rise for its energy customers.

Centrica said that the rise, which comes into force in the middle of next month, was vital for the company to make a profit in the second half of the year.

Nine million residential customers are preparing for an 18 per cent rise in gas prices and a 16 per cent rise in electricity prices.

The rise will add about £190 to the cost of customers’ average annual bills, which will now be £1,286.

More on this story here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Neil Clark: The Coalition's Public services proposals will not mean more choice

This article, by CPO co-founder Neil Clark, appears on the Guardian's Comment is Free website.

Neil Clark: David Cameron wants us to believe that rolling back state provision will benefit the public. The opposite is true.

Thirty-two years after Margaret Thatcher swept into Downing Street promising to roll back the frontiers of the state, the neoliberal drive towards a fully privatised Britain is entering its final stages. The government's new Open Public Services white paper, revealed by David Cameron last week, may have passed under the radar somewhat due to the scandals engulfing the Murdoch media empire, but it's an important document nonetheless.

You can read the whole of the article here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

‘A good day to bury bad news‘-full speed ahead for NHS privatisation

The Guardian reports:

The government will open up more than £1bn of NHS services to competition from private companies and charities, the health secretary announced on Tuesday, increasing fears that it will inevitably lead to the "privatisation of the health service".

Labour questioned the policy, which the shadow health secretary John Healey said was "not about giving more control to patients, but setting up a full-scale market."
His colleague Emily Thornberry, the party's health spokeswoman, added that "today is a good day to announce the policy because everyone is preoccupied with telephone hacking. (They) hope no one will notice it". This theme was picked up on Twitter with a stream of comments about "it being a good day to bury bad news"

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Neil Clark: It's time to renationalise British Gas

You can hear Neil Clark, co-founder of the CPO, make the case for renationalisation of Britain’s energy companies on the Emma Britton Show on BBC Radio Somerset.

The discussion comes at 32 minutes into the programme of Tuesday 12th July.

Monday, June 27, 2011

British rail travel four times more expensive than on France's state-owned network

The Morning Star reports:

British rail passengers are having to fork out £4.6 billion a year more than travellers on France's public owned railways, transport union RMT revealed today.

Fares on Britain's privatised network are four times more expensive than their French equivalent, according to an RMT report by research firm Just Economics found that lower and middle-income families were being "completely priced out of the rail market" following years of fares rises.

Overcrowding on British railways was also far worse than in other countries, including France, Spain, Germany and Italy.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "Like the McNulty review, this study compares privatised UK rail with European services, but, unlike McNulty, it has not turned a blind eye to the huge social and economic cost of privatisation.

"We already knew that Britain's railways are the most expensive in Europe, but this study exposes the shocking degree to which UK rail users are being fleeced by the greed and stunning inefficiency of the rail privateers and made to suffer unnecessary overcrowding."

You can read the whole article here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Scottish Power to raise gas bills by 19%

The Guardian reports:

Household budgets face further pressure after a leading energy company said it was raising gas bills by 19%.

Scottish Power, which will also raise electricity tariffs by 10%, said it would add 48p to the average daily combined gas and electricity bills of its 2.4 million customers, an extra cost of £175 a year.

You can read the whole report here.

More on this story here.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Press Release on the Sale of the Tote


Today is a very sad day for British horse-racing.

Announcing the sale of the Tote, Britain’s publicly-owned bookmaker to the private bookmaking chain Betfred, gambling and racing minister John Penrose said ‘Most people can’t understand why in the modern world, the government should be even part owner of a bookie.‘ But the Tote is no ordinary bookmaker. Since its foundation in 1928 by Sir Winston Churchill, it has helped British racing develop into the wonderful sport it is today. Last year the Tote gave £19m to racing and sponsored over 700 races. The Tote’s profits are ploughed back into the sport and it largely because of the Tote and the generous support it gives racing, that we have such diverse racing in Britain, with no fewer than 60 racetracks.

The Tote is no failing business, but a much-loved institution that has carried out its duties in support of racing perfectly well for the best part of a century. For a comparatively small sum- £90m, the government is selling-off another national asset.

There is no logical reason to sell the Tote, no one in racing was calling for its privatisation. The long-term effects for racing, a sport which employs over 100,000 people directly and indirectly and which brings pleasure to the lives of millions of people are likely to be disastrous, with Tote betting shops likely to be closed and small tracks threatened by the likely ending of the Tote’s subsidy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Neil Clark: Selling off the Tote marks a race to the bottom for the sake of ideology

This article, by CPO co-founder Neil Clark appears in The Guardian.

Britain's publicly-owned bookmaker keeps horseracing diverse. Without it, smaller courses would struggle to survive

Sir Winston Churchill will be turning in his grave. For 83 years, the Tote, Britain's publicly-owned bookmaker, set up by Churchill when he was chancellor of the exchequer in Stanley Baldwin's Conservative government in 1928, has been an integral part of the British horseracing scene. Now, however, the institution endearingly known as "the Nanny Goat" is to go the way of our railways, our buses and our utilities and be transferred to the private sector.

While free-market enthusiasts will no doubt be pleased to see a further shrinking of the state, the sale is likely to prove disastrous for a sport which employs more than 100,000 directly and indirectly, and which brings joy to millions of people's lives.

The whole article can be read here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Neil Clark: Put Britain's trains back on track

This article, by CPO co-founder Neil Clark, appears in the Sunday Express.

IMAGINE a detective arriving at the scene of a murder and failing to question the person caught holding a blood-stained dagger over the body. Imagine, too, that the detective then makes no mention of said person in his report.

Far-fetched? Well, overlooking the obvious is exactly what happened last week in relation to an inquiry into Britain’s railways.

Sir Roy McNulty, former chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority, was appointed to investigate why our railways are the most expensive in Europe.

His report found 10 main barriers to efficiency and made a series of recommendations, including cutting staff at stations and allowing some train operators to assume responsibility for maintenance.

The most noteworthy thing about Sir Roy’s report was what it did not recommend.

The reason why our fares are the highest in Europe is because, unlike other European countries, our railways are privatised.

You can read the whole article here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Government defeats Labour challenge to NHS plans

The BBC reports:

The government has fought off a Commons challenge to its controversial plans to shake up the health service in England.

MPs rejected a Labour call for the proposals to be abandoned, but the coalition's parliamentary majority was cut by more than a third.

Labour called the changes "damaging and unjustified", and the Royal College of GPs said they risked "unravelling and dismantling" the NHS.

Ministers are promising "substantive" changes after criticism by Lib Dem MPs.

The Health and Social Care Bill would give GPs more control over NHS budgets, and give the private sector a greater role.

More here.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Neil Clark: Privatised Britain is not a fait accompli

This piece, by CPO co-founder Neil Clark,appears on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website.

Keep standing up for the state – a leaked memo shows the coalition fears public reaction to outsourcing of public services.

"A return to the 1990s with whole-scale outsourcing to the private sector – this would be unpalatable to the present administration" Tuesday's leaked memo of a meeting between business chiefs and Francis Maude, the minister for the Cabinet Office – which reveals how the coalition is having second thoughts about the scale of its ambitious and ideologically driven programme of ending the "state's monopoly" of the provision of public services – is undoubtedly welcome.

But supporters of public ownership shouldn't be popping the champagne corks just yet.

The whole article can be read here.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Doing nothing to the NHS IS an option

This column by CPO co-founder Neil Clark appears in the Morning Star.

.. According to David Cameron "the risk" to the NHS is "doing nothing."
The status quo is simply not an option, the government tells us. Yeah, right, Dave.

How many people have you seen marching for radical reform of the NHS?

Everyone I have met who has had treatment on the NHS in recent years has been very satisfied with the way they were treated.

When I had to have a minor operation a few years back, I not only received exemplary care and attention in hospital but I received a text the day from the NHS to check if I was all right.

What terrible service from an organisation which free-market fanatics like to label a "Stalinist bureaucracy"!

Because most people are happy with the NHS the way it is, the neoliberals have to hype up its failings.

Yet when things do go wrong they are invariably caused by the introduction of so-called "market principles" and privatisation into our health-care system.

You can read the whole article here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Please sign the Petition to Save the NHS!

You can sign the 38 Degrees petition to Save the NHS here. Already they’ve got over 240,000 signatures- let's help them achieve the 300,000 mark!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Neil Clark: Don't privatise our libraries

This article, by CPO co-founder Neil Clark, appears on the Guardian's Comment is Free website.

The government's cuts threaten the future of much-loved public libraries. But we should be wary of its zeal for privatisation too.

"Save our libraries" has been one of the slogans of 2011, as local residents fight to preserve much-loved community assets against the government's cutbacks. But there's another threat hanging over Britain's public library service: that of privatisation. The idea of privatised libraries would have been unthinkable in the mixed economy and genuinely progressive 1960s and 70s, but it shows how far down the road marked "neo-liberal extremism" we have travelled since 1979, that they're now very much on the agenda.

The whole article can be read here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

'NHS reforms will turn health service back to 1930s'

The Daily Mail reports:

Plans to reform the NHS could return healthcare provision to the days of the 1930s and 40s, one of Britain's leading doctors has warned.

Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the British Medical Association's hospital consultants committee, criticised health secretary Andrew Lansley's plan to make NHS hospitals compete with private companies.

Opening NHS care in England to 'any willing provider' could result in the closure of local hospitals and see some patients denied care by private providers because they are expensive to treat, he said.

The Health and Social Care Bill, currently going through parliament, will see £80billion of the NHS budget handed to GPs, enabling them to commission services.
Dr Porter told the Guardian: 'Very deliberately the Government wishes to turn back the clock to the 1930s and 1940s, when there were private, charitable and co-operative providers.

'But that system failed to provide comprehensive and universal service for the citizens of this country. That's why health was nationalised. But they're proposing to go back to the days before the NHS.

You can read the full article here, and the original Guardian piece here.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Victoria Coren on the legal 'extortion' of Britain's privatised railways

Everybody knows what's happened to the trains since they were licensed to private companies: impenetrable rules, incomprehensible fares, crazy fees if you have to make a short-notice decision. It has nothing to do with any "true price" for the journey, only the vast amounts they can get away with if you have no choice.

Let's be honest, it's extortion. A medieval landlord could name his own tithes if people had nowhere else to go and East Midlands Trains is clearly inspired by those happy days.

We've all been stung by this sort of thing. We all know what we want as a nation: safe, fair, affordable national transport. Nobody sees any justice in these punitive onboard fares, yet we have no recourse; our national feeling is irrelevant because the railways aren't "ours" any more. Oh, how we look forward to the selling off of the Post Office.

You can read the whole of Victoria Coren's Observer article here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cold Comfort Britain: British Gas announces 24% rise in profits

The BBC reports:

Operating profits at British Gas rose 24% in 2010 to £742m, its parent company Centrica has said.
The news comes two months after the UK utility announced a 7% rise in domestic energy bills, which it blamed on rising wholesale prices.
British Gas said it had increased its number of customers by 267,000 during the year to 16 million.
The results helped Centrica to achieve pre-tax profits of £2.8bn, with operating profits up 29% to £2.4bn.....
The 24% rise in British Gas's operating profit was largely because of an increase in profit per customer, with the number of customers up just 1.7%, as revealed in the group results of its parent Centrica.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Victory! The government drops its plans to sell-off England's forests

The Guardian reports:

David Cameron has ordered ministers to carry out the government's biggest U-turn since the general election by abandoning plans to change the ownership of 258,000 hectares of state-owned woodland.

Caroline Spelman, the environment secretary, will announce on Friday that a consultation on the sale of forests will be ended after a furious backlash that united Tory supporters with environmentalists and the Socialist Workers party.
"The consultation is going to be terminated," a government source has said. A No 10 insider added: "It's a cock-up. We just did not think."

The Campaign for Public Ownership welcomes the government’s decision to listen to public opinion and drop their plans to sell off England’s publicly owned forests.

We call on them to do a similar U-turn on the unpopular sell-off of the Royal Mail, and to halt any plans for any future sell-offs of publicly-owned property, including that of the state-owned bookmaker The Tote and of our air-traffic control system.

We also call on them to use their statutory powers to intervene to save Britain’s public libraries, threatened by government spending cuts and privatisation by local authorities.

There is no public support for privatisation, and in a democracy the government ought to be carrying out the wishes of the majority of the people and not be unduly influenced by big business and right-wing think tanks.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Woods sell-off bad news for rare wildlife

Adrian Roberts reports in the Morning Star.

Campaigners raised concerns today over the fate of threatened wildlife such as red squirrels and nightjars in woods which could be sold to private companies under government plans.

Wildlife trusts say that woodlands classed as "commercial" forest in proposals to offload the country's public forest estate to business, charities and communities still support rare wildlife which could be put at risk.

The plans put out to consultation last month divide the Forestry Commission's 258,000hectare public forest estate into large and small "commercial" forest which could be sold on a leasehold basis to timber companies.

But Kent Wildlife Trust has raised concerns about forests classed as small commercial forests which are home to rare species ranging from nightjars and firecrests to Heath Fritillary and Duke of Burgundy butterflies.

You can read the whole of the report here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Family's fury at Virgin rail 'bullies'

Aren’t Britain’s privatised train operators wonderful?

This report by Claire Ellicott appears in the Daily Mail.

When Stephanie Spacey’s family accidentally boarded the wrong train, they presumed it would be a mistake easily remedied.

But after Virgin Trains demanded they buy new tickets, threatened her 14-year-old son with three months’ imprisonment and led a ‘campaign of threats and intimidation’ against the family, she decided to act.

The company director was travelling from Coventry to Euston for a friend’s birthday with her husband, son and two friends on March 20 last year.

Her friend had booked tickets to travel on the 9.51am train, which came to a total of £95, but the group accidentally boarded the 9.31am train.

A ticket inspector, who refused to give his name to the group, told them they had to buy new tickets costing £270.

Mrs Spacey, 30, is suing the company and demanding a full apology.

The family appealed against the penalty fare, but Virgin wrote back to say they would have to pay the £270. They even sent a letter to Sir Richard Branson, the owner of Virgin Trains, but the reply was the same.



Monday, February 7, 2011

Think our post is bad? Here's how it could soon get worse

This article by CPO co-founder Neil Clark, on The Netherlands’ unhappy experience with postal privatisation, appears in the Mail on Sunday.

Hundreds of campaigners recently marched through David Cameron's Oxfordshire constituency to protest against Government plans to sell off the Royal Mail.
'The planned privatisation is an unnecessary ideological move which will damage postal services for ever,' said Billy Hayes, leader of the Communication Workers Union.

While Hayes believes the sell-off of Royal Mail - in State hands since its inception in 1516 - would mean an increase in prices, a decrease in services and mass Post Office closures, Business Secretary Vince Cable claims the move will 'secure the services that consumers and businesses rely on'.

Of course, they can't both be right. To find out what a privatised postal service really would be like, we only have to look across the North Sea to the Netherlands. And Holland's unhappy experience should give us all grounds for concern over what is about to happen in Britain.

You can read the whole of the article here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Save our Public Libraries!

Over 450 public libraries in England are threatened with closure.
Details about tomorrow's Save Our Libraries day can be found here.

Please join the day of protest in defence of public libraries and join the fightback against market fundamentalism!

Market fundamentalism, this madness that's infected the human race, is like a greedy ghost that haunts the boardrooms and council chambers and committee rooms from which the world is run these days. The greedy ghost understands profit all right. But that's all. What he doesn't understand is enterprises that don't make a profit, because they're set up to do something different. He doesn't understand libraries at all, for instance.

Like all fundamentalists who get their clammy hands on the levers of power, the market fanatics are going to kill off every humane, life-enhancing, generous, imaginative and decent corner of our public life. We're coming to see that old Karl Marx had his finger on the heart of the matter when he pointed out that the market in the end will destroy everything we thought was safe and solid. "Everything solid melts into air," he said. "All that is holy is profaned."

You can read the whole of author Philip Pullman's wonderful speech in defence of public libraries here. An abridged version also appears in The Guardian.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Neil Clark: Margaret Thatcher's extremism has already been outdone by this coalition

This piece by CPO co-founder Neil Clark, on the coalition government's free-market extremism, appears on the Guardian Comment is Free website.

Ask any genuine socialist or progressive which was the most extremist British government since the war and it's long odds-on that they'd say one of the three administrations of Margaret Thatcher. But I believe that is now an outdated judgment. For when it comes to political extremism the present government has already outdone Thatcher.

The coalition, which its supporters ludicrously claims occupies the centre ground, seems hellbent on privatising the entire British state.

Everything must go: our publicly owned forests, our postal service, our state-owned bookmaker, our air traffic control. And though the government denies that its health bill represents the privatisation of the NHS, there can be little doubt that its real aim is to open the door for profit-hungry private companies to take over surgeries and hospitals.

You can read the whole of the article here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sign the Petition to Save England's Publicly Owned Forests!

The 38 Degrees petition reads:

The government is planning a massive sell off of our national forests. They could be auctioned and fenced off, run down, logged or turned into golf courses and holiday villages.

We can't let that happen. We need to stop these plans. National treasures like the The Forest of Dean, Sherwood Forest and The New Forest could be sold off. Once they are gone, they will be lost forever.

A huge petition will force the government to rethink its plans. If we can prove how strongly the public are against this, they will have to back down. Please sign the petition now.

The petition has over 380,000 signatures. Please sign it today!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Save England's Forests from Privatisation!

From The Sunday Telegraph:

In a letter published in The Sunday Telegraph and signed by almost 100 dignitaries, the Coalition sale is branded as “unconscionable” and “ill-conceived”.

The signatories to the letter, organised by a new campaign group, Save England’s Forests, include Dr Rowan Williams; Carol Ann Duffy, the poet laureate; Dame Judi Dench, the Oscar-winning actress; and Bill Bryson, the author and president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

The Government has already announced its intention to sell off 15 per cent of all land owned by the Forestry Commission in the course of this parliament in the hope of raising as much as £100 million.

A consultation launched this week by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will put forward plans to sell off the remaining 85 per cent. A clause has been inserted in a new Public Bodies Bill that will give the Environment Secretary permission to transfer ownership of all the land.

CPO comment: It’s good that more and more people are waking up to the fact that we have the most extreme neo-liberal government in our history- a government that won’t rest until every last remaining public asset is privatised.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Medical profession warn of the privatisation threat to NHS

The Daily Mail reports:

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association's GPs Committee, warned there was 'chaos developing around the country' ahead of the reforms to the NHS.

He said: 'We were told before the election that there would be no further reorganisations of the NHS and yet we are just about to embark on one of the biggest reorganisations in 60 years.

'We're already seeing Primary Care Trusts imploding and GP groups are having to step up to the mark to fill the gap that is being left behind just to keep the NHS running.

'This is chaos developing around the country. It's a great concern because the primary plank of the reforms is to increase competition and improve the opportunities for large multinational companies to take a stake in running and providing services within the NHS. That's not good for patients.'

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More than one in three Post Offices could close if the Royal Mail is privatised

The Daily Mail reports:

More than one in three post offices could be closed under Government privatisation plans for the Royal Mail, it is feared.

The official customer body, Consumer Focus, believes that the country may be left with only a skeleton post office network.

It says safeguards are needed to ensure key parts of the Post Office role, such as the collection of parcels, are not hived off to supermarkets or other retailers.
Andy Burrows, postal services expert at Consumer Focus, said: ‘It’s entirely conceivable, though it seems an odd thing to suggest, that several years down the line you could have a post office network where you cannot undertake mail transactions

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year:Commuters hit as rail season tickets soar by up to 13%

The Daily Mail reports:

Rail passengers returning to work tomorrow have been hit in the wallet with inflation-busting increases of up to 13 per cent for their annual season ticket.

The cost of a yearly ticket rose by an average of 6.2 per cent, nearly double the consumer price inflation rate of 3.3 per cent and almost three times the typical pay rise of 2.2 per cent.

But on certain lines increases reached 12.8 per cent, leaving travel on some commuter routes costing more than £5,000 a year – a fifth of the average salary of £25,000.