Budget 2017: Hammond to introduce cut-price rail fares for young people

Young people are to benefit from cut-price rail travel under plans set out by Chancellor Philip Hammond in Wednesday’s budget.

The proposal will see the introduction of a discounted railcard for 26 to 30-year-olds, as the government looks to lessen the cost of living.

The scheme will operate along the lines of the 16 to 25 railcard, which was introduced in the mid-1970s. It offers a third of normal rail fares for the cost of £30 a year.

The new 26-30 card is expected to launch in spring 2018, with the Treasury estimating that an additional 4.5 million young people will become eligible for discounted fares via the scheme.

But Andy McDonald, the Shadow Transport Secretary, said the Government was "tinkering around the edges of a broken system".

“This policy won’t include regulated fares and will do nothing for commuters who have seen the cost of travel rise by 27% since 2010, twice the rate of wages," he said.

Credit: PA

"The Government policy of tying fare rises to the Retail Price Index means the cost of travel increases in real terms each year.

"Our railway should be run by and for passengers, not private shareholders and foreign governments.

"Labour will take rail back into public ownership, bringing fares down for all passengers and preventing fares rising above inflation, saving the average commuter around £500 over the course of Parliament.”

Mr Hammond is also expected to announce a review of airline insolvency arrangements following the sudden collapse of Monarch Airlines in early October, which led to the UK's biggest peacetime repatriation to bring stranded Britons back from overseas.

The review will also probe the "uneven" nature of consumer protection for passengers highlighted by the Monarch case, with the final report due at the end of 2018.