Taken for a Ride
A recent report from The Equality Trust has highlighted how Government subsidies are increasing inequality in UK transport systems.
Taken for a Ride found that the richest 10% in society receive £977.4 million in transport subsidy compared to just £296.7 million for the poorest 10%. This equates to £294 per household for the richest 10% against £162 for the poorest. When the data is looked at for train use only, the inequality rises further still.
There are also geographical differences, with Wales and North East England receiving lower rates of subsidy than London and the South East. A household in London benefits almost four times as much from rail subsidy as a household in Wales while per journey, rail travel in Wales is approximately twice as subsidised as rail travel in London.
The relative affordability of the bus compared to other forms of transport makes it particularly important for those on low incomes, with buses often providing the only source of transport for those in low paid jobs working at irregular times. People in the lowest income group use the bus more than three times as often as those in the highest.
Commenting on the report’s findings, The Equality Trust said: “Our transport system is a driver of inequality, and societies with high levels of economic inequality have worse health, more crime, less social mobility and lower levels of trust.”
The group recommends that all government departments, including the DfT, consider the impact of both new and existing policies on inequality, and that the Office for Budget Responsibility should be commissioned to look at the net impact of the Government’s annual budget on UK inequality.