OFFICIAL inflation figures will be published today, and on the back of those, the level of January rail fare increases will be confirmed.

It has been predicted that the Retail Prices Index measure of inflation will increase by 3.5 per cent. As this is the number used by the Department for Transport to set rail fare increases, so they will rise by 3.5 per cent too.

Passengers beset by months of disruption will be thrilled to hear they will soon be paying 3.5 per cent more to have their trains cancelled or delayed.

In a gesture of real solidarity with the paying public, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling took the hugely authoritative step of... writing a letter. He has told the unions they should base their pay rises on the Consumer Prices Index, instead of the Retail Prices Index in a bid to reduce costs within the industry and therefore reduce the need to put ticket prices up so much.

So that’s sorted then. Apart from the fact the unions have already told him to shove the idea amid accusations he is trying to enforce a pay cap.

Mr Grayling’s approach looks even shakier when you take into account the RMT research published on Monday which showed that even if the lower measure of CPI was used to peg fare rises, ticket prices would still have increased 36 per cent faster than wages over the last nine years.

Whichever way you look at it, passengers are the ones losing out, and Mr Grayling’s latest intervention will do nothing at all to help.