Kent MPs to meet transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin in bid to cut rail fares
Rail fares are set to
increase by 6.2% in January
by political editor Paul Francis
Kent MPs are to meet the new secretary of state for
transport to call for a cut in rail fares.
Secretary of state Patrick McLoughlin agreed last week to meet
the county's MPs and acknowledged fares were putting pressure on
It comes after the news that fares could rise by as much as 6.2%
in January, based on the fact operator Southeastern will be
able to calculqte its prices on an inflation rate of 3.2% plus a
The meeting was suggested by the Chatham and
Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch, who called on the minister to "engage
in a substantive conversation about rail fares and services for our
Mr McLoughlin, pictured left, agreed to a meeting during an
opposition debate on train fares.
"As I have said, a huge number of people rely on commuting,
particularly in areas such as Kent, and that is very expensive
for them. I shall be more than happy to arrange a meeting in
the not-too-distant future."
Ms Crouch said the meeting was likely to take place in October
once the party conferences were completed.
Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson said: "My
constituents have seen their rail fares increased time and time
again; however, there has been minimal improvement to the service
they receive, which is unacceptable. I hope that by meeting with
the transport secretary, Kent MPs will be able to convince the
government to take action to help local commuters."
Many of the county's Conservative MPs have been highly critical
of the proposed increases, with the Tonbridge and Malling MP Sir
Johgn Stanley even accusing his own party of exploiting
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