Train fares are set for another inflation-busting rise as they will soar by an average of 4.1% from January, the Office for National Statistics has confirmed.
This comes after the ONS revealed the RPI (retail price index) rate of inflation fell to 3.1% in July, which is linked to how the fare rise is decided as train companies can add an extra 1% for price rises.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin expressed sympathy for commuters but insisted they have to make their "contribution" to running the railways.
"Nobody likes to see rail fares go up. I don't like to see it and passengers don't like to see it," he said.
"Running the railways is a very expensive business. The taxpayer overall is contributing a lot and I am afraid that the passenger has to make his contribution. He does it as a taxpayer and as a passenger as well."
Labour treasury spokeswoman Cathy Jamieson said: “Today’s figures confirm that prices continue to rise faster than wages as the Tory-led Government's cost of living crisis continues.
“And the Government is making things worse not better for families. Alongside declining real wages, tax rises and cuts to tax credits are hitting those on middle and low incomes while millionaires have been given a huge tax cut.
“David Cameron and George Osborne's economic policies have badly failed over the last three years and working people are paying a heavy price.
“We urgently need action to help middle and low income families right now, which is why Labour is calling for a lower 10p starting rate of tax, action to tackle soaring energy bills and action to protect tax credits for working families by reversing the tax cut for millionaires.”
Campaigners have been protesting across the country at the prospect of another above-inflation fare rise. The TUC and the Action for Rail campaign group will hold a series of demonstrations at almost 50 stations.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Every year hard-pressed rail commuters have to hand over an ever greater share of their earnings just to get to and from work.
"Wage-busting fare rises are not even going on much needed service improvements either. Instead, passenger and public subsidies are lining the pockets of the shareholders of private rail companies. of the train fare rise will
The ONS figures showed that in the twelve months to June 2013, UK house prices increased by 3.1%, up from a 2.9% increase in the twelve months to May 2013.
In June 2013, prices paid by first-time buyers were 3.9% higher on average than in June 2012. For existing owners, prices increased by 2.7% for the same period.
Discounts by fashion retailers and lower air fares offset higher prices at the fuel pumps to help edge consumer price index (CPI) inflation down to 2.8% in July from 2.9% a month earlier, the Office for National Statistics said.