Britain’s richest households disproportionately benefit from travel subsidies, report finds


Equality Trust find that inequality is entrenched in our transport sytem.

A NEW report has found that Britain’s richest households get double the travel subsidy of the country’s poorest.

In order to make transport routes attractive to travel companies and to keep prices low the government subsidises routes to the tune of PS5.4bn a year.

The Equality Trust report found that this subsidy disproportionately benefits the richest 10 per cent of society as they save an average of PS294 a year per household while the lowest 10 per cent benefit by just PS162.

When these results were broken down by region it found huge regional variations. In terms of total rail subsidy London has by far the highest, receiving more than double Scotland.

However, this changes how much subsidy each journey gets is considered. In Scotland a journey is subsidised by an average of PS7.77 while in London it is PS3.94.

The recent figures follow a trend as for most of the last twenty years the richest households have benefitted disproportionately from travel subsidies.

The report argues that it is essential the government act to prevent transport subsidies exacerbating inequality.

It shows that the richest 10 per cent travel more than double the distance of low income families each year. This can impact on equality as being less able to travel can restrict opportunities for work, access to facilities and leisure activities.

The report also suggests that a more equal transport system would increase the life chances of the lowest 10 per cent of households and reduce inequality in general.

A number of recommendations were made including asking the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) to assess the impact of its national budget on inequality.

Picture Courtesy of Robert Pittman