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Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has defended the expected rise in rail fares next year saying that the rail network is in need of "huge investment". He told the BBC:
– Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary
Nobody likes to see rail fares go up. I don't like to see it and passengers don't like to see it. We are massively investing in the railways, with £130 million being spent here at Nottingham, £800 million at Reading and £600 million at Birmingham.
Pressed to say when the government plans to end above-inflation fare rises, he said that the Office for Budget Responsibility has a target to do so in 2015.
He said that just over £8 billion was raised by ticket sales and just under £4 billion by taxpayers for the UK's rail services.
A group of protesters opposed to rail fare rises has gathered outside King's Cross Station in central London this morning.
Trade unions are calling for demonstrations ahead of this morning's expected announcement of a 4.3 percent rise in rail fares in England from January 2014.
Asked why rail fares continue to rise, the chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies said it was in part to fund better services and in part to lower the contribution from the taxpayer.
Michael Roberts told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the government is trying to reduce the proportion of the cost of rail transport paid by the taxpayer to around 20 percent.
The Campaign for Better Transport's campaign director, Richard Hebditch, has said that rail passengers are likely to be £100-200 worse off next year as a result of fare rises.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he called for the government to end above-inflation fare rises.
Rail passengers are not getting value for money despite numerous hikes in ticket prices, the TUC has said.
Kevin Rowan, head of public services, told Daybreak rises are unjustified when taxpayers were not "seeing the kind of investment we want in the rail industry".
Inflation figures are expected to remain high today, pushing up prices at petrol pumps and leading to rising rail fares.
Retail prices index (RPI) figures are expected to remain high today, pushing up prices at petrol pumps and leading to rising rail fares.
It would give train companies licence to push through regulated price rises of 4.3% next year as they are allowed to rise one percentage point above July's RPI measure.
The consumer prices index is set to remain at around 2.9%.
The Government has defended its track record on rail fares and promised to announce further measures to ensure "greater fairness" for travellers.
A Department for Transport spokesman said the Coalition were investing "record amounts" in the railways and recognised current prices were "tough".
– Department of Transport spokesman
The Government is investing record amounts into our railways, which will help deliver economic growth, improve performance and significantly boost passenger capacity.
However, we also recognise it is tough for passengers. That is why we are already limiting these rises by capping the average regulated fares increase at 1% in real terms and will be announcing further measures to ensure greater fairness on fares for passengers later this year.
Train users will be forking out 40 percent more than they were six-years-ago for a ticket, say rail campaigners staging nationwide demonstrations later today.
A fare rise scheduled for January will be the sixth time in seven years ticket prices have outstripped wages, say TUC and Action for Rail.
While fares have increased by 40 percent, wages have only rise by 15 percent, it was claimed
The TUC have blamed privatisation for the spike in train fares, General secretary Frances O'Grady said:
"Ministers must put evidence before ideology, halt the privatisation of the East Coast mainline and look at bringing our railways back into public ownership."
Train fares are set to rise yet again on the back of the release of July's inflation figures, forcing rail passengers to fork out more for travel in 2014.
Inflation as measured by the retail prices index (RPI) is expected to remain at 3.3 percent for July, giving train companies the opportunity to push through a price rise of 4.3 percent at the beginning of next year.
The Government determines rail price rises by allowing fares to rise one percentage point above July's RPI measure.
Rail passengers were already dealt a blow with 2013 prices. This year the cost of a season ticket rose by 4.2 percent and overall train fares increased by around 3.9 percent.
A 14-month inflation high due to rising fuel, food and retail prices shows that the "cost of living crisis is getting worse", according to Labour's Shadow Treasury Minister.
Catherine McKinnell MP says today's inflation increases and high prices are making it financially difficult for people and families throughout the UK.
"With prices now rising much faster than wages the cost of living crisis is getting worse. Despite all the complacent claims from Ministers about the economy, these figures show that for ordinary people life is getting harder under David Cameron's government.
She added: "After inflation, wages are down by an average of over £1300 since this Government came to power. Millionaires have got a huge tax cut, but millions of people on middle and low incomes are worse off under the Tories."