VIDEO: Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson defends ‘low’ train price rise after Labour supporters protest

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Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson and Virgin Trains have defended the recent rail fare price rise after a protest was held outside Peterborough Station.

Mr Jackson said the 1.1 per cent average increase in tickets, which came into effect on January 2, was the lowest in six years and was below the annual rise in wages.

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson

In addition, Virgin Trains, which operates the East Coast line taking in Peterborough Station, said its prices had actually gone down.

The comments follow the protest on Monday (January 4) by members of the Labour Party, Socialist Party and the campaign group Momentum - which supports Labour and its leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The campaigners handed out leaflets to commuters who, when interviewed, also criticised the cost of travelling by train.

But Mr Jackson said: “Wages are now outstripping this fare rise which is the lowest in six years and comes on the back of a massive upgrade of Peterborough station, the highest infrastructure spending since Victorian times, and new improved intercity trains serving the city from 2018 onwards.

“The expenditure has to be balanced between commuters and the taxpayer and I think a 1.1 per cent rise should in fairness be seen in that context.

“Passenger usage has increased more than any country in Europe. Re-nationalisation would be a costly disaster but Labour’s paymasters the trades unions are pushing this policy.”

The rise in regulated fares, including season tickets, is capped at no more than July’s RPI inflation rate of one per cent.

A spokesperson for Virgin Trains said: “Virgin Trains on the East Coast route is reducing fares by an average of 0.3 per cent.

“Virgin Trains is committed to offering its customers value for money and, since we took over the franchise 10 months ago, we have sold more than two-and-a-half million low advanced fares, over half of which were less than £20, as well as introducing a Low Fares Finder on our website.”

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VIDEO: Protesters and commuters outside Peterborough Station criticise latest rail fare rise