How public transport subsidies entrench inequality in the UK?

Transport system in the UK is a driver of inequality : The Equality Trust

Public transport is a significant and escalating cost for many people. But while transport may be a drain on the finances of some, for others the cost is far more debilitating. This matter, as it means the poorest in society are unable to travel as far or as often, limiting their ability to compete with the better off for jobs and decent pay. This report reveals how this inequality is embedded within our transport system through government subsidies, further increasing overall economic inequality.

In total the richest ten per cent receives £977.4 million in transport subsidy; the poorest ten per cent receives just £296.7 million. 

Report finds that:

  • In total the richest ten per cent receives £977.4 million in transport subsidy; the poorest ten per cent receives just £296.7 million.
  • Per household the richest ten per cent receives nearly double the subsidy of the poorest ten per cent, £294 per year compared to £162 for the poorest households.
  • For the rail system alone the richest ten per cent receives over three and a half times as much subsidy as the poorest ten per cent. 
  • Certain regions like Wales and the North East receive far lower rates of subsidy than regions like London and the South East. A household in London benefits almost four times as much from rail subsidy as a household in Wales. However, per journey rail travel in Wales is approximately twice as subsidised as rail travel in London.

Our transport system is a driver of inequality, and societies with high levels of economic inequality have worse health, more crime, less social mobility and lower levels of trust. We therefore recommend that:

  • All government departments should consider whether or not any new policy proposal increases inequality, as part of their cost-benefit evaluation process.
  • The Department for Transport, and all other government departments, should review the net effect of their existing policies as a whole on inequality.
  • The Government should commission the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to estimate the net impact of its annual budget on UK inequality.

Visit The Equality Trust 

Feature image: Jesi



  1. However a shame of course, I heard that the driving license application price has been lowered. I said “well that’s nice, they’ve probably realized people now need cars to live in.”

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          1. Indeed, It certainly needs exploring. I’m coming out of it all myself. There’s no help out there for the people. I believe this is true and probably a more fulfilling life, depending on how you’d like to live it 🙂 but at the same time society outcasts anyone who does live in a caravan, so it’s a lose lose either way really, the divide in us all is still being firmly put there. Thanks for the article link!

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            1. Agreed. Also, this article has raised several questions on humans and humanity. When I went through the article, I was on a train; I found missing point in this article is cost/investment that is important for children’s education, health and other social security, how the family manage it !?


          2. I read the article, how inspiring and lovely. Love it! I been on that level my whole life, as I was raised in a similar way. My boyfriend would never part with his home comforts though lol!

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  2. Oh I missed your previous comment! Yes, well, they probably don’t. Education is only for the elite these days anyway… Plus u know “teach a fish to climb a tree it will spend it’s whole life believing it is stupid.” Society has been set up so that people ask these sort of questions and have a reason to frown upon anyone who dares live out of the way the rest of the world (and their leaders) wants them to… When the reality is in the UK no “education” is probably better than an “education”. We’re f***ed either way lol. I didn’t go to school until year ten because of the government, but nobody will ask about that and what is wrong there you know? What I’m trying to say is that needn’t be a worry, social security is but a utopian fantasy.

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    1. That’s really heart touching Ella! Off course it is important to think that how a general man can afford expensive tuition fee to be educated, accommodation cost and transportation cost? I may agree with you that if a man is happier without education then why need to be educated! But no way, Ella. I have written a post describing tuition fee in the UK.

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  3. This is an excellent post because it gives a breakdown of different subsidy amounts + then explains how this creates a cause + effect relationship. Often, the word subsidy gives the impression that it is of assistance to mostly the lower income residents of society. Thanx for the insight.

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