Will transport be a key battleground at the next election?

Will transport be a key battleground at the next election?

The Observer is reporting that George Osborne is being urged to make policy U-turn as parties fear ‘tax on commuting’ will destroy support in marginal seats.

Several MPs have gone on the record to urge a change in policy.

One Kent MP – Sir John Stanley, the member for Tonbridge and Malling – accused ministers of “exploiting commuters” and using rail fares as “a disguised form of taxation”.

The Conservative MP for Harlow in Essex, Robert Halfon, said: “I have already written to Justine Greening. It is a simple cost-of-living issue. Many people in my constituency are on below-average earnings and commute into London, and they cannot afford these rises.”

Tracey Crouch, the Tory MP for Chatham and Aylesford in Kent, said: “A lot of Tory MPs will be seeking meetings with ministers as soon as we return. Household living standards are already squeezed and people who have to commute are feeling very aggrieved.”

The Tory party deputy chairman, Michael Fallon, has also registered his concern, telling his local paper that rail operating companies must show restraint, while Philip Davies, the Tory MP for Shipley in Yorkshire, said big rises would choke off economic revival.


If the government is inclined to acquiesce to this u-turn, then there will be pressure to help the motorist.

Add into the controversy of awarding of the West Coast Line franchise this week to FirstGroup, the continued debate about expanding Heathrow/The UK’s air capacity and the ongoing HS2 issues, then transport could well be a key battleground at the next election.

Any party that develops a coherent and/or popular transport policy could well be onto a vote winner.





Mike Smithson is currently on holiday.

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