Sheffield Labour Council Slams Tory “Great Train Robbery”

Sheffield’s Labour Council has blasted the eye-watering rise in ticket prices, which comes in to force today.

Rail fares will go up by an average of 3.4%, the highest increase in five years. Ticket prices have already risen by 27% since 2010, twice the rate of wages.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport at Sheffield City Council said:

“This price rise is a total disgrace and will hit hard-working Sheffielders in their pockets hard. For the tens of thousands of Sheffield people who use the trains, this ‘Great Train Robbery’ is an awful way to start 2018.

“Our railways are being run by greedy fat cats on ever higher salaries, when they should be run as a public service, for the public good, with money re-invested in the public interest. Our railway system should be run for the benefit of the many, not to enrich a privileged few.”

“Fares have risen faster wages every year of this clueless government, but the Tories still have the cheek to say there isn’t money to electrify the Midland Mainline, even though it would boost growth by £450 million and help to rebalance our economy.”

“Privatisation has been a disaster for our railways, with higher fares, lower punctuality and a focus on short-term profit rather than long-term investment. Only Labour has the ambition and courage to deliver the railway the public deserves in 2018”

RailFares Info

Irina Amelkina of Gleadless, Sheffield works in Nottingham and commutes every day. She said:

“It’s absolutely absurd rail fares are going up yet again. It’s completely unfair that shareholders and executives at the top are making so much whilst the rest of us are being squeezed and losing out. The railways should be nationalised. It’s really galling to have to pay just to see companies make even more money for slow and unreliable services”

The RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, said:

“While workers are struggling, the private train companies are raking it in. As we enter the 25th anniversary of railway privatisation legislation, the need for public ownership of rail has never been more popular or necessary.


Speech to Full Council: The Great British Rip Off

Anyone who has spoken to people in Sheffield will be amazed at the LibDem motion. I don’t think I have ever seen a motion that is so out-of-touch, so aloof and so smug. Crisis – what crisis?

Of course, any improvement in the British economy is very welcome, however weak and however overdue.

But nobody should be in any doubt about this change  – it is for the South East, it is for the rich and it is for the short-term.

Let’s remember that 93% of people on zero-hour contracts don’t get any benefit from the rise in tax allowance whatsoever. The increase in tax allowance is almost entirely used by people earning over £30k – it doesn’t benefit the lowest paid whatsoever.

  • So if the economy is doing so well, why is the government planning to borrow an extra £190 billion MORE than they planned?
  • If the economy is doing so well, why does the IFS say an extra 400,000 children will be in poverty by 2015?
  • If the economy is doing so well, why are Councils being told to brace themselves for another 4 years of even more savage cuts?
  • If the economy is doing so well, why are over 850,000 young people still out of work?
  • If the economy is doing so well, why are living standards still falling?

The answer is because the economy isn’t nearly strong enough. Most working people are not feeling a recovery at all. And even worse, it is built on another housing bubble AND confined to one part of the country AND helping the richest the most.

The Lib-Dems and Tories may be happy with an economy that is low-wage, low-pay and low security, but Sheffield deserves better.

  • That’s why Labour would guarantee a job for every young person out of work for more than a year.
  • That’s why Labour would clamp down on exploitative zero hour contracts.
  • That’s why Labour will freeze energy bills for homes and businesses for two years.

Our communities need real action now, not the LibDems telling people they should feel richer and should be grateful for all the kind things the LibDems have done for them.

So let me finish by saying that if the Liberal Democrats want to make this general election a fight over who can stand up best for families, who can create good jobs and who can help with the cost of living crisis – I have only three words to say to them: Bring it on.