Rail fares

Stephen Hepburn MP for the Jarrow Constituency has voiced his concerns in Parliament that the same private rail companies that are putting rail fares up by over three per cent this year have paid out over £1 billion in dividends to shareholders over the past six years.

Mr Hepburn is concerned that these shareholder pay-outs are excessive given the poor-quality service and high costs that workers face commuting by rail.

Speaking at Transport Questions recently, the Jarrow Constituency MP said:

“The Office of Rail and Road says that the train operating companies have paid £1.3 billion in dividends since 2014.  Would it not be better to use this money to cut fares, rather than paying fat cats in the private sector?”

Andrew Jones MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Transport, replied:

I should point out that 98p in every £1 paid in fares goes back into investment in the industry. The argument about nationalising the railways is one that we have had here before, and I think it is the wrong approach. The approach that we have taken for the past 25 years has led to a record growth in passenger numbers, a record number of services on our network and a record level of safety across our network. The hon. Gentleman’s suggestion would simply move us back to the 1970s and to a model that failed.”

Stephen Hepburn MP added:

“It’s extremely concerning that so much money from our railways goes to private shareholders each year. We have the most expensive fares in Europe, so that can’t be right. It’s rewarding failure and taking money away that should be invested in better services.

“We need to take our railways back into public hands. Every penny from every fare should go back into the railways. The number one priority should be running a world class railway service, not private profit.”

Meet your MP

 Stephen-Hepburn-MP

Stephen Hepburn has served the Jarrow Constituency as MP since 1997.

He was last elected to serve in June 2017 and won the seat with a conclusive 17,263 majority.

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