Theresa May defends rail fare rises as 'investment is needed'

Theresa May has defended rail fare increases by insisting investment is needed.

The Prime Minister said rises in regulated fares are kept to inflation, with 97p of every pound paid towards a ticket being put into the railways.

Fares rose by an average of 3.4% last week, with an annual pass from Mrs May's Maidenhead constituency to London increasing by £104 to £3,092.

Mrs May, speaking to BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show, said: "Since privatisation, usage of the railways has doubled and we have seen the biggest investments since Victorian times in our railways.

"A lot of people rely on our railways, we want to see good service on our railways but that does mean that investment is needed."

Mrs May was also questioned about the Government's early termination of the East Coast rail franchise involving Stagecoach and Virgin.

They had agreed to pay the Government £3.3 billion to run the service over eight years until 2023 although it was announced in November that a new East Coast Partnership will take on responsibility for both intercity trains and track operations on the route in 2020.

Asked to guarantee that taxpayers will receive the £3.3 billion from the two companies, Mrs May replied: "Virgin and Stagecoach are still paying money to the Government for the East Coast line."

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