Re-nationalisation is not the answer to rail fare rises

For Immediate Release

Inflation, as measured by the Retail Price Index, is going up. That means most rail fares are due to rise again this January. But calls to re-nationalise the railways should be rebuffed. Significantly lower fares could only be delivered by increasing taxpayer support, which would disproportionately benefit high earners: the top fifth of households travel three times as far by rail than those in the bottom 20 per cent. It would be deeply unfair for poorer taxpayers - who rarely travel by rail - to subsidise wealthier commuters' train journeys.

Commenting on the latest inflation figures, Duncan Simpson, research director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 

“Commuters across the UK will be rightly fuming that their cost of living is going up again. But anger should be directed at the real culprits, Network Rail.

“The already nationalised part of the railways is responsible for almost two thirds of delays on the network, so they rightly deserve the blame for inflicting misery on millions. Yet passenger numbers have more than doubled and taxpayer support has declined since the end of the nationalised British Rail. So the interest in using railways is in spite of, not because of, the state.

“The current franchise system is outdated, so the priority of the new transport secretary should be greater use of open-access operators to ensure real choice for consumers and to limit the burden on taxpayers.”


TPA spokesmen are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)

Media contact:

James Roberts

Political Director, TaxPayers' Alliance
[email protected]
24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113 (no texts)

  1. Founded in 2004 by Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum, and now with 80,000 supporters, the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) fights to reform taxes, reduce spending and protect taxpayers. Find out more about the TaxPayers' Alliance at

  2. TaxPayers' Alliance's advisory council.
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