Politics

SNP ministers urged to slash ScotRail fares to ease cost of living crisis



The Scottish Government is being urged to slash rail fares in a bid to ease the cost of living crisis.

The Lib Dems believe ministers at both Holyrood and Westminster could be doing more to help Scots facing rising energy bills and soaring inflation.

The party will use an opposition debate at the Scottish Parliament this week to demand SNP ministers use the powers available to them to make a difference immediately.

Lib Dem MSPs will call on the UK Government to cut VAT to 17.5 per cent and reverse the recent National Insurance hike.

And they want Holyrood to back a reverse of the recent 3.8 per cent rail fare hike and instead expand the system of railcards.

The ScotRail franchise – which operates the vast majority of passenger services in Scotland – passed to Scottish Government control on April 1.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, Scottish Lib Dem leader, said: “Scotland is facing the biggest fall in living standards since the fifties.

“The current proposals set out by the Conservatives and the SNP do not go close to far enough.

“Both parties are taking people for granted, hiking national insurance, council tax and your train fares at the worst possible moment.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats have a clear plan of action to cut bills for you and your family.”

Nicola Sturgeon previously admitted there is no timetable for when fares on ScotRail could be slashed.

She said her government had “a duty now that the railways are in public ownership to demonstrate to people that it brings advantages”.

A review of fares across the public transport network is due to take place this year and will consider how the pandemic has impacted passenger behaviour.

Transport minister Jenny Gilruth previously told the Record that peak time fares could be looked at – and the SNP leader today agreed it was an issue “in scope” of the review.

The Scottish Government has launched a “national conversation” on the future of ScotRail that will ask staff and passengers on how the network can be improved.

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