Andy Burnham highlights eye-watering price of return fare from Manchester to London

The Mayor of Greater Manchester claimed a £369 flight to Jamaica was cheaper than the train journey across England

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Andy Burnham has highlighted the eye-watering price of a return fare from Manchester to London, claiming a flight to Jamaica was cheaper.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester sparked outrage after he posted the ticket price of £369 next a range of long-haul air fares.

He revealed a flight to the Ivory Coast, £319, is £50 cheaper than the trip across England, while the journey to India is £26 cheaper.

He claimed the train ticket was also £24 more than a trip to Jamaica and £45 more than a flight to Brazil.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham
Mayor of Greater Manchester posted on the train and flight prices on social media
Mayor of Greater Manchester posted on the train and flight prices on social media

One social media user Helen, said she had also been a victim of the high fares saying: "I paid £450 at the weekend and there was standing room only.”

Mark Smith, an international rail travel guru, replied: “Sigh. The usual story. They’re all cheap limited-availability advance-purchase fares except the rail one which is of course the fully flexible and refundable, unlimited availability good-for-any-train business fare for business people for when the company is paying.”

Another Twitter user said the post was deceptive: “PM and government are using misleading statements almost every day, the mayor should do better.”

The post comes as train tickets are set to be slashed by as much as half as the Government looks to address cost-of-living pressures with cheaper travel in April and May.

In what is being dubbed the Great British Rail Sale, the Transport Secretary said more than one million train tickets would be reduced this spring.

A person buying a train ticket
A person buying a train ticket

The Department for Transport (DfT) is hoping the move will help hard-pressed households, facing rising bills and soaring inflation, to afford trips across the UK and boost domestic tourism.

The sale, said to be the first of its kind, is expected to bring some Manchester to Newcastle journeys down to a little over £10, while seats on some London to Edinburgh services will be slashed from £44 to £22.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, referring to the end of coronavirus restrictions in a video to advertise the sale, said: “We’ve had two years of living life virtually.

“It is time to get real and visit our beautiful country.”

Discounted tickets will go on sale from Tuesday April 19, with passengers eligible to travel for less on off-peak fares between April 25 and May 27.

Officials said offering half-price rail tickets was “one of the ways” the Government was helping to support families with the cost of living, having previously announced measures to defer energy costs and offer council tax discounts for some households.

Tickets were set to be available on selected advance fares from 10am, with passengers able to purchase them from the National Rail website, the Rail Delivery Group said.

In a statement Mr Shapps said: “For the first time ever, operators across the rail industry are coming together to help passengers facing rising costs of living by offering up to 50% off more than a million tickets on journeys across Britain.

“There’s no better time to visit friends, family or just explore our great country, so book your tickets today.”

Jacqueline Starr, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We want everyone to be able to benefit from travelling by train because it’s more than just a journey, it’s a way to connect everyone to the people, places and things they love.

“As part of the Great British Rail Sale customers will enjoy over one million discounted tickets, so they can explore some of the fantastic locations that are accessible by rail.”

Other journey savings expected include a single from York to Leeds being reduced to £2.80 from £5.60, London to Cardiff being cut from £47 to £25 and Portsmouth Harbour to Penzance going down to £22 from £45.70.