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Thursday, 8 March 2012

McNulty and Mansions

The McNulty report, commissioned by the British government, offers the prospect of saving £7billion on the government subsidy to the railways: at the cost of closing smaller ticket offices and raising prices for travel at peak periods. This clever proposition ignores basic facts. Peak periods are such because they are the periods when people are going to work in the morning and home in the evening. Ticket machines are notoriously  inflexible - unlike a human being who can respond to customers' questions and interrogate the system of fares and timetables to optimise the cost of travel for the customer. Even the prospect of a supercharge on peak travel is adumbrated. This would be a direct tax on jobs, a deterrent to employment.
The withdrawal of ticket offices would hit the people with the last money, making travel for them more expensive and inconvenient. Many people travelling to hospitals have to travel at peak periods: including those whose illnesses have already caused them to loose their jobs.
The proposals are so profoundly unsocial that they are almost certain to be adopted by the coalition government.

Such ideas stand alongside the proposed 'mansion tax' which is also largely regressive and deterrent to job creation. Both are likely to be carried; such is the irresponsibility of the political class. 

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