As the UK is plunged into financial crisis due to the ongoing cost-of-living quagmire, Scotland have announced emergency laws that will be implemented as part of a plan to relieve the burden on citizens. These measures include the freezing of rail fare prices until at least March 2023 and rent freezes across the country.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled these plans to tackle the "humanitarian emergency" in recent weeks, saying:
"I can announce that Scotrail fares will be frozen until at least March 2023. As well as rising energy bills, housing costs and increasing levels of debt are a concern for many.
"We do not control mortgage or general borrowing rates, but we will continue discussions to encourage banks and other financial services firms to take an approach that maximises security for homeowners and businesses."
The speed at which this price freeze has been implemented is notable as it comes at a time where the UK Parliament is currently in recess, meaning that new requisite legislation will not be determined until mid-October. The Scottish Government, however, have acted with a rapid response to ensure the economic stability of its residents with the rail price cap being notable due to the sector recently becoming re-nationalised on the 1st April 2022.
Through nationalisation, the Scottish Government are able to act decisively and promptly in the interest of its citizens to relieve financial burdens that are associated with day-to-day spending of public transport. Sustainable and affordable travel has been the mission statement since the takeover and these actions show dedication to the pledged sector evolution.
Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth addressed the plans to transform the railway saying:
Whilst that’s good news, it’s clear that much work still needs to be done – and in a collaborative way – to ensure the long-term sustainability of rail operations in Scotland, to best meet the needs of the people we all represent.
“I want to kick-start a National Conversation about what our new beginning for ScotRail should look like – an affordable, sustainable, customer focused rail passenger service in Scotland in a post pandemic world.”
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