The cost of gas and electricity and the “squeeze” on the working class and poor has been hitting newspaper headlines this week. For good reason. Energy bills have just gone up from £693 to £1,971 a year for a “typical” household - and another rise is anticipated this October!
How are families expected to afford this? It’s a 54% rise when wages are on average going up by just 4% - and then only in some cases!
What makes this so scandalous is that the increase in the energy price cap was a deliberate measure imposed by the government’s regulator, which allowed the companies to pass on their costs to consumers. It was a conscious choice which was made, and it has allowed the racketeering by the big oil and gas companies to carry on unhindered.
And of course, now, in the context of the sanctions imposed on Russia, there is even more scope for this speculation and profiteering, while the cost increase, passed on to the population, is conveniently blamed on “the war”. As if there was nothing which could be done to avoid it. Not to mention avoiding the war itself... But that is another question.
So what to do about hit to the poor from energy costs? Chancellor Rishi Sunak, has offered a £150 council tax discount and a £200 loan which is supposed to make up for it! Yes, that’s all! Of course nobody would expect someone like him with his non-dom multimillionaire wife and green card in his back pocket to do what’s needed. Like, for instance taking the ownership of the energy industry into public hands, so that its costs could be controlled. By the way, it’s notable that Starmer’s “opposition” doesn’t dare to mention this “anti-capitalist” option!
So the squeeze continues, and gets more painful by the day, with inflation due to double and with economists explaining that incomes are the lowest - and the cost of living increase the highest - in 15 years, 30 years, or even 60 years!
There is a remedy. And most workers already know it. It’s not inside a ballot box, but outside on the streets and in the workplaces: the fight back that is so long overdue.
It’s more urgent than ever that workers push back against the continued assault on wages and working conditions - the zero-hours contracts, temporary agency jobs, and multi-tiering of the workforce, which has sent “equal pay for equal work” out of the window...
Yes, it’s high time to fight on the only basis which is justified today: workers together as a class - by simply withdrawing our labour simultaneously and for however long it takes, against the over-fed bosses and their lying, corrupt politicians.