Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/545/6332
The Socialist 13 August 2008 |
Join the Socialist
Nationalise the top food and fuel companies
No to food & fuel poverty
Each week the cost of getting to the supermarket, buying the basic groceries for a family and cooking a meal is going up. Shoppers and shop workers talk about soaring prices on the checkout and wonder how we're going to manage and where it will end.
Vicky Perrin, Huddersfield Socialist Party
Cost of living - credit: Campaign for a New Workers Party, cwnp.org.uk
New 'budget' lines of poor quality food and price promotions are springing up to try to reassure us into staying loyal to a particular supermarket. Food companies are now reducing the quantities of food in popular lines whilst charging the same price for them as a way of protecting their profits on the sly in the face of rising prices.
If you used to feed three children with a pack of 12 fish fingers you're in trouble because the same pack now contains only ten so you'll have to draw lots for who gets the fourth one on their plate! Even sandwich shops and cafes are adding 'credit crunch specials' to their menus in recognition of the fact that money is getting tighter and we're all feeling the pinch more every day.
To put a tenner's worth of petrol in a car now takes just a few seconds. Bus and train fares are rocketing. The number of households in 'fuel poverty', having to choose this winter either to put the fire on or cook a meal, will be the highest in decades and now the water companies are planning to join the price-hike race.
Meanwhile, big business and government fat cats tell us to stop wasting food, and sing the praises of inventive and frugal war-time cooking. The boss of Centrica (British Gas) said we should wear a second jumper if we feel a little chilly when winter starts to bite and we're facing 60-70% increased fuel price rises.
Not that he will need to worry about winter coming with his salary of over £1 million a year; nor will Gordon Brown have to choose to take something out of his basket to get through the checkout on his weekly budget - thanks for the advice!
One third of the biggest 700 businesses in Britain disgracefully pay no corporation tax at all. The government didn't turn a hair to bail out Northern Rock to the tune of billions when it felt the credit crunch, taking the investment out of public pockets and putting the profit into private ones. This is while low paid public-sector workers have to take strike action just to try and get their pay in line with inflation and keep their heads above water.
Privatised energy companies make us pay to cover price rises and instability in the world economy whilst protecting the obscene amounts paid to directors, top shareholders and others with their noses already firmly wedged in the trough. The Socialist Party calls for the genuine nationalisation of utilities so that surpluses can be re-invested and prices can be put under public regulation.
Enough of the insulting lectures about 'tightening our belts' - it's the bosses' system that's got us into this mess; only replacing it with a system in workers' interests can get us out of it.