Transport is a major concern

Many local Labour Party and Trade Union members spent January 2 out and about 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.

Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 8:00 am

I campaigned alongside our members at Berwick Train Station and also Alnmouth Station, talking to lots of 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 also hospital appointments, education and important visits to see family.

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

Having spoken to a range of residents about these charges, a large mix of young and older people relying on Alnmouth Train Station for access to work and employment 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, both access and affordability?

Born and raised in this community, I know exactly what it’s like to rely on buses without adequate infrastructure or investment in place.

I know what it’s like to face the ever increasing squeeze of transport costs to access further education or employment outside of the local area.

I can only assume that our Conservative representatives don’t face these same daily difficulties as the rest of us.

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

It’s time for a long-overdue change and it’s time 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