Scottish Labour has proposed capping bus fares at £1.80 and cutting the price of rail tickets in half for three months to help with household bills.

The party is putting action to tackle the cost-of-living crisis at the heart of its council election campaign.

Its manifesto includes a windfall tax on oil and gas firms and extra payments for families struggling with bills.

The party wants to cut the “cost of commuting” both to help workers and to push up the use of public transport.

Leader Anas Sarwar said every level of government should be focused on “bold policies” to protect household budgets.

All 32 of Scotland’s councils will hold elections on 5 May.

Scottish Labour is targeting a recovery, having slipped to third place behind the SNP and the Conservatives in the last votes in 2017.

The polls coincide with a cost-of-living crunch hitting millions across the UK, with soaring energy and fuel bills, rising prices in shops and changes to National Insurance payments.

Mr Sarwar said: “People across Scotland are struggling to make ends meet, and the cost of commuting is piling extra pressure on.

“Fuel prices are through the roof, and public transport isn’t faring any better. Rail passengers are coughing up for the highest fare hike in a decade and bus passengers are forced to navigate patchwork services and inconsistent fares

“It doesn’t need to be this difficult – we can give people a break and give public transport a boost by putting a stop to rip-off fares.”

Labour is putting the cost-of-living crisis at the heart of its local election campaign

Labour’s proposal is to use powers from the 2019 Transport Act to cap the price of local bus journeys at £1.80, while its manifesto also suggests cutting rail fares.

ScotRail was brought into public ownership at the beginning of the month, and the party said ministers could cut fares in half for three months to help workers and boost use of public transport.

Labour claims this would cost at most £45m, and that this would be offset by an increase in passenger numbers, which are still only at 71% of pre-pandemic levels.

Mr Sarwar said: “These are the kind of bold policies at the heart of our manifesto – which help people during this cost-of living crisis and build a better future for our communities.”

Windfall tax

The manifesto also includes a series of policies on the cost of living which Labour says could save households more than £1,000, while tackling rising energy bills and high water charges.

These include the party’s long-standing call for a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas giants, which it says will help reduce household bills by £600.

It also proposes a £400 fuel costs payment for those hardest hit by price rises, and a £100 rebate on water bills for all households.

The party also wants to create a publicly-owned energy company to improve energy security – similar to plans dropped by the Scottish government last year.

Counting is being held the day after the ballots, on Friday 6 May, with results expected from the 32 dedicated count centres across the country by the end of the day.

There has been a sharp rise in the number of people registered for postal votes, with 22.5% of the total electorate signed up for them as of December 2021.

This represents a 38.3% increase on the previous year, with the National Records of Scotland saying the jump was “most likely driven by the Covid pandemic”.

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