Labour has today pledged to freeze rail fares for a year – but the £200m cost will be paid for by delaying work to the A27.The Conservative government pledged £350million to improve the road west of Brighton and Hove last year, with a new bypass at Arundel and work at Chichester, Lancing and Worthing.
More changes are in the pipeline east of the city at Lewes if a business case can show they are value for money.
But under the Labour manifesto, published this morning, the Arundel stretch, which runs through the South Downs, would be delayed as “the economic case is still uncertain”.
The pledge has been slammed by Conservative candidate for Brighton Kemptown Simon Kirby, who campaigned for the improvements as MP.
He said: “This is typical of the short-sighted policies being peddled by the Labour Party in this election. Everyone knows the A27 needs upgrading but not, apparently, the Labour Party. The A27 proposals will ease congestion in other local roads as well.
“Conservatives have confirmed that we will freeze rail fares for five years, not just one as Labour are suggesting, and provide money for these vital upgrades. Labour, as always, needs to think again.”
However, Labour say the Arundel work raises environmental issues, and that the Conservative proposals are not fully costed.
A party spokesperson said: “Labour is today saying that we intend to go ahead with the works on the A27 with the exception of the specific Arundel bypass – this is due to cut through a National Park and so raises a number of environmental issues that need to resolved before we give this one section of road improvement the go ahead.
“Instead of an uncosted Tory plan they have no idea how they will pay for, Labour will deliver a fully funded rail fares freeze for one year.”
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