Implications for the Fair Fares Review

The wider context of transport in Scotland presents both challenges and opportunities for delivering on the vision of the NTS and means that the Fair Fares Review is a vital mechanism for the continued delivery of quality transport services in Scotland.

The combination of high inflation and a relatively weak economy has impacted dramatically on the economic wellbeing of the people of Scotland and the budget position of the Scottish Government, tied to decisions made in Westminster, has deteriorated significantly particularly in terms of the funds available for capital investment. Whilst resource spending is forecast to rise ahead of inflation there are significant demographic pressures from an aging population that will require additional health and social care spend. The approach to social security in Scotland, to treat those in need with dignity and respect and provide additional support where it is most needed, will also have an impact on the amount of funding available for other areas.

At the same time, transport touches the lives of all the people of Scotland on a daily basis – it goes beyond the ability to travel to work or interact commercially and is a fundamental aspect of wellbeing through the ability to socially interact with others. Given this vital importance, the budget constraints faced over the coming years will require a new approach to public transport that the Fair Fares Review can make a significant contribution towards.

Finally, transport has a key role in tackling the climate emergency. We have an ambitious target to reduce private car use by 20% by 2030 – essential to the meeting of our climate change goals – and public transport availability and price will play a critical role in moving towards this goal.