The government is reportedly planning to extend the Help-to-Buy scheme in order to cover rail fares as well. Currently, many in the squeezed middle are forced to rely on their car while desperately saving up for the deposit on the Zones 1-6 railcard that will get them onto the public transport ladder. Above-inflation hikes in rail fares mean that, for many, the dream of owning their own season ticket seems further away than ever.
Some detractors, however, believe that this could lead to a further boom in rail prices, as the already limited places on commuter trains are taken up in the rush to take advantage of the scheme. Ed Miliband has denounced the proposal as unworkable and instead promised that a Labour government would introduce compulsory ‘affordable seats’ on all new train carriages.