POLITICS: Transport is huge concern

Many local Labour Party and Trade Union members spent January 2 in Berwick constituency talking to residents about the increasing concerns with transport, specifically rail travel, given the Government increases in rail fares and the constant decrease in service quality under the privatised system

I campaigned alongside members at Berwick and Alnmouth stations, talking to local residents, many of whom were returning to work for the first time since Christmas.

At Berwick, residents told me about their increasing reliance on rail travel for not just work, but hospital appointments, education and to see family.

At Alnmouth, residents were not only facing the Tory rail-fare hike, but also the introduction of parking charges by Tory councillors representing our area.

A large mix of young and older people relying on Alnmouth Train Station for access to work were concerned about the increase and the impact an additional charge will have on their daily commute, especially when you factor in this cost on a weekly/monthly basis.

Geographically, north Northumberland faces many complex and unique challenges. This is not a new development so why is nothing being done to tackle one of the key features of rural poverty – transport access and affordability.

Born and raised in this community, I know what it’s like to rely on buses without adequate infrastructure or investment, and to face the increasing squeeze of transport costs to access further education or employment. I can only assume that our Conservative representatives don’t face these same daily difficulties.

Instead of trying to balance the scales of society and make life easier for the average person in north Northumberland, it appears that they would rather serve powerful, wealthy and elitist donors.

It’s time for a long-overdue change, to put the people before the powerful and build a rural economy that works for the many, not just the privileged few.

James Matthewson,

The Labour Party