Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/551/6467
Labour bails out the bosses
Where is the bailout for us?
Waiting for the bus outside Asda, I assess my situation with regards to fuel poverty. Asda is not my nearest supermarket but I think it's the cheapest. I always expected I'd have a car by the age of 42 but there is no way I could afford that now.
Sally Huggins, Waltham Forest Socialist Party
Charities estimate that up to five million households live in fuel poverty, defined as spending 10% of their income on fuel. I received a letter in September informing me that my supplier was 'really sorry' but the gas was going up 30% and the electric up almost 20%. And they backdated it to August!
I work hard in a hospital and I am in fuel poverty. I shouldn't be. Nobody should.
It is not only fuel prices that hurt. We don't eat much meat now - I just can't justify the price of a joint.
I've had to revive my 'student mentality'. It's back to watching out for special offers, rummaging in the reduced bin and frequenting second-hand shops. I shop online as it's easier to stick exactly to your shopping list and to not get tempted by anything nice.
Ethical shopping just goes out the window. I've tried to avoid Tesco and Primark because of the way they exploit foreign workers, but that's not so easy now. I used to have an organic vegetable box delivered. I wanted to get the best for my son. But now I can't justify it. Instead I finish work and then have to traipse around the supermarket.
I should be getting to a time in my life when I can be more comfortable. Instead I have to think of more ways to cook mince.
I am constantly disappointed by the government. They made a big deal about discussing with the power companies but nothing happens.
These companies make an absolute fortune and offer us 'money saving' schemes, like half-price cavity walls. But those who rent, those who have leaseholds and those who don't have the money to pay their half up-front are excluded. Why can't the government even get a one-off windfall tax out of them to see us through this winter?
I nearly wrote to thank Gordon Brown for the insulting deal he got us with the power companies. He and the politicians live on a different planet. I'm working and I'm worried about the bills. Imagine what it's like for pensioners and people who can't work.
Yesterday I was standing in the queue in the supermarket and the cashier was joking about buying extra warm clothes for the winter - I suppose it's a standard line now. You have to joke to get through it.
Complicated as the financial crisis is, people have certainly twigged that it's taxpayers' money that will be used for the bank bailouts, and that's no joke. They are really annoyed. It is not quite clear yet what exactly it's going to mean for our pockets, but it is scary.
The government nationalised banks but there doesn't seem to be any long-term guarantee that we're in the clear. And where are our paybacks and our dividends?
In The Socialist 8 October 2008:
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