Letters - January 3, 2020

Increase in railway fares is unjustified

Friday, 3rd January 2020, 5:13 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd January 2020, 5:14 pm
What do you think of fare increases on the railways? Let us know.

The rail fare increases being implemented are unjustified given the performance record of TransPennine Express and Northern.

Customers have been subjected to abysmal standards of performance over the past year with cancelled, delayed and short formation trains. This has wasted people’s time and caused inconvenience and overcrowding.

The rail industry has a cheek to use its monopolist power to jack up prices. Increased revenue should be achieved by attracting patronage, not deterring it by fare hikes.

The travelling public have not forgotten their suffering during the rail strikes of 2018 in the North. We see regular annual fares increases but no improvement in productivity.

These fare increases have little to do with investment in the railway infrastructure, as the Rail Discovery Group would have us believe.

Rail fare increases are further unjustified while there is a failure to increase road use prices in line with inflation.

As the Office for Budget Responsibility observed in 2019: “The main rate of fuel duty was cut by one pence in the 2011 Budget to 57.95 pence per litre and has been frozen at this rate ever since. In real terms (deflated by whole economy prices), the headline rate has fallen by around 12 per cent over the past seven years, lowering revenues as a share of GDP.”

All this does is to encourage more car use with its associated deleterious effects on everyone’s health through emissions.

The same issue applies to the other main competitor to long-distance rail, namely aviation, where its fuel is not taxed at all and so is not subject to any inflation escalator or environmental levy.

Tony Plumbe

via email


The new decade hasn’t started yet

I saw your Quiz of the Decade (The Gazette, January 1). It’s a pity that, like most media, you think that the 2020s decade starts this year - it doesn’t, it starts on January 1, 2021.

Any series of 10 starts with 1 and ends with a number ending in 0.

This also applies to time.

When the calender changed from B.C to A.D it went from 1 B.C. to 1 A.D - no year 0 - and, therefore, the end of that first decade ended on the year 10, and every decade since has ended in 0. I don’t understand why so much of the media gets it wrong. Maybe you could explain?

Mick McGreevy

address supplied


We’ll be better off outside the EU

We were supposed to have left the EU in March last year, but due to a Westminster Parliament determined not to respect the 2016 referendum, it looked like the voice of 17.4 million voters was not going to be heard.

Due to Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party, we are now in a completely different place as we will leave the EU by January 31.

A big thank you is due to all the people who helped make this dream come true, without them this would not have been possible.

Now we need a Government to properly negotiate for the British people and get a Free Trade Agreement that works for us all.

The road will be bumpy but we will be better off outside, and I and my colleagues will be here to ensure Boris sticks to his promises.

Happy New Year.

Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen

North West Brexit Party MEP


Higher share for Labour Party

It is easy to forget that Labour got a higher share of the poll, at 32 per cent, than in 1983, 2010 and 2015.

So they must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater and realise that, once Brexit is sorted out, people will consider a radical manifesto.

Tony Blair should remain in his man-cave, and realise that the world has moved on from New Labour, which produced the 2010 defeat under Gordon Brown.

Tim Mickleburgh

via email


No point in wasting money on big day

Re. changes to civil partnerships which allow mixed sex couples to opt for civil partnerships instead of marriage for the first time, me and my partner are not married and share everything.

We both believe a name change will just be that. Our son already has both of our last names which is double-barrelled so again, no point wasting money on a big day when we are already happy and have been together 11 years.

Most marriages don’t even last 11 years.

Karen Dobson

via email