Spending Review: Cost of Rail Travel To Rise, Flexible Working to Increase?

Will savvy business leaders note the rise in the cost of commuting and implement cost saving flexible working strategies for future company growth?

The UK’s annual transport budget will be £13.6bn according to George Osborne’s recent Public Spending Review. The amount of current spending will be cut by 21% and capital spending will be down 11%.

Even though London’s Crossrail project will go ahead ,and £30bn is to be set aside for capital spending, including £500m for Tyne and Wear Metro and Tees Valley bus network, there will be a rise in regulated cap on rail fares to 3% above inflation for three years from 2012.

The logical conclusion is that rail fares will probably be going up in years to come rather than down. Couple this with the fact that it is projected that the average middle class family will be £10k worse off every year, the number of people willing to commute by train to work every day is bound to decrease. Now it maybe that those people choose to get back in their cars, move closer to work, or change jobs to be closer to home, but surely with the increase in demand for flexible and remote working we will begin to see organisations wising up to the fact that they need to provide this as a necessity not as a perk?

Rather than the IT or Telecoms departments pushing for this, I would imagine that line managers, BC and HR managers would be the key drivers behind a move to more flexible ways of working as they really are the key stakeholders: the line managers and HR want to be able to ‘bag’ the best employee candidates and the Business Continuity manager needs to ensure that in the event of a business disruption (power cut, telephone outage, flood, fire etc.) the organisation can continue to function to the best of its ability.

Overarching all this the CEO should be fully behind this initiative. After all what CEO doesn’t want to recruit the best people, reduce overheads, maximise productivity and protect brand reputation when things go wrong?

No-one can look at the state of our country and deny that something needs to be done to save money, so I sincerely hope savvy business leaders out there can turn these cuts into major growth opportunities by enabling more of their employees to work remotely from home now and again…


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