Government guilty of fuelling car-led travel in Spring Statement

Rishi Sunak delivering Spring Statement in the House of Commons

Transport and travel union TSSA has slammed the government for promoting a car-led recovery over climate-friendly public transport in today’s Spring Statement. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p cut to fuel duty in what he claimed was his first priority to help motorists. He failed to provide anything for public transport, while his government imposed a 3.8% rise in rail fares, higher still in London, clobbering public transport passengers. 

In addition, the Tory Government will go ahead with a big hike in National Insurance Contributions in April and there were no serious measures to deal with rising energy bills or inflation.

Manuel Cortes, TSSA general secretary, said: “This government is fuelling – quite literally – a car-led recovery instead of promoting climate friendly solutions such as public transport.  

“We should be making public transport cheaper in the face of spiralling, out of control fuel prices. Other countries are cutting the cost of public transport or making it free for commuters, but this Tory government has increased rail fares and is failing to encourage more people to take public transport. 

“This Spring Statement was a missed opportunity from a Tory government that simply doesn’t understand the challenges that our country faces, choosing to back big business over ordinary workers.

“Frankly, Sunak will be remembered for being the Chancellor who looked the other way as working people struggled with rising energy bills and inflation. Sadly, Johnson’s deepening cost of living crisis knows no end and every single day, more and more families can’t make ends meet. A growing tragedy which Sunak could have cured today, but blatantly failed to do so.”

Ireland has introduced a 20% discount for season tickets on public transport; New Zealand has halved the cost of public transport, and Tasmania is making buses free for commuters in response to the fuel cost crisis. By contrast, rail prices in the UK rose by 3.8% in 2022 and by 4.8% for Transport for London (TfL) services.

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