'Huge disparity' in Govt spending on different parts of railway

There is a huge disparity in the amount of Government funding given to the railways in different parts of the UK, with train journeys in England receiving a little as £2.19 per passenger journey, according to the Office of Rail Regulation.

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Some rail not 'commercially viable' without funding

Some rail services would not be "commercially viable" without extra funding from the taxpayer, a Government spokesman has said.

A Department for Transport spokesman defended the Government's record on rail spending, arguing the transport service delivered wider "social, environmental and economic benefits":

Subsidy and premium differ across the UK, even at a regional level, because of variations in demand and costs, with some busier services requiring less Government support.

Many services would not be commercially viable without taxpayer funding, and we subsidise them because they deliver wide social, environmental and economic benefits to their communities.

– A Department for Transport spokesman

Rail fares brought in '£7.7bn total' last year

Some £7.7bn in revenue was generated just through rail fares last year, with higher passenger numbers credited with the 3.6% rise on the amount brought in during 2011/12, according to a report from the regulator.

According to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) report covering April 2012- March 2013:

  • The cost of running Britain's railways was £12.3 billion in 2012-13. This overall cost has remained consistent over the past three years.
  • The industry earned nearly £3 billion from discounted tickets (such as advance, off-peak, super-off peak and special offers) - amounting to more than 40% of the total passenger income.
  • Rolling stock charges paid by Virgin Trains, for example, were £302 million but those paid by East Coast were £53 million.

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Report exposes 'huge disparity' in railway spending

The amount of money spent on the railways varies widely from England to Scotland and Wales, according to a report from industry regulators.

Government policy is that rail passengers should cover more of the industry's income. Credit: PA

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) found a "huge disparity" between Government spending in different parts of the UK, with rail journeys in England receiving as little as £2.19 per passenger journey.

In Scotland, £7.60 was spent per passenger journey and £9.33 in Wales during the year 2012/13, the report found.

Total government funding for 2012/13 for the railways amounted to £4 billion which represented 30.9% of the industry's total income and included £700,000 from Transport Scotland and £100,000 from the Welsh Government.

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