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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 February 2008

Explosive mood on gas profits

BRITISH GAS has announced a 500% rise in profits for last year. This rise is grotesque enough but the announcement, just weeks after they put their prices up by 15% for 13 million customers, made people very angry.

James Kerr

4.5 million people are estimated to live in fuel poverty (spending more than 10% of income on basic fuel costs) in Britain. These new prices, combined with the sharpest recorded rise in food prices and real-term wage cuts, will make living costs hard to handle for millions of workers.

The price rise is being blamed on rising wholesale gas costs but this burden is being carried wholly by us and not by Centrica, the owner of British Gas, or its shareholders.

A report by independent analyst Cornwall Energy Associates, found about 2.3 billion of the 8 billion increase in prices by gas companies cannot be accounted for, in other words it's profit.

The price rise was virtually uniform across the "Big Six" companies dominating the energy market. Ofgem the 'regulator' is launching an investigation into alleged price fixing, although the last 15 inquiries have barely criticised the energy companies.

Clearly all the arguments that privatisation means a more competitive and efficient energy market have proved incorrect. Privatisation has meant uncontrollable price rises alongside record profits for big business.

If the energy suppliers were brought back into the public sector and run by and for workers and other energy users, affordable fuel could be provided for the mass of people while also safeguarding the environment.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 27 February 2008:

Rich get richer - We pay the bills


Unison witch-hunt

Editorial: Stop witch-hunts in Unison - defend those attacked!

Trade union activist fights intimidation

Members protest at Unison witch-hunt


Socialist Students

Student feature: Fighting fees


Campaign for a New Workers Party

Building the Campaign for a New Workers' Party


Workplace news

Shelter staff vote to strike

Acas staff ballot for strike

Journalists battle for union rights

Workplace News in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Scotland - Vendetta against Tommy Sheridan condemned

Feature: Fidel Castro's resignation opens up new chapter

Pakistan elections: Crushing defeat for Musharraf, landslide for opposition parties

Miliband's extraordinary apology on rendition

Sleaze in Northern Ireland: Keeping it in the family


Socialist Party campaigns

Don't let our hospital pay the price for PFI

Explosive mood on gas profits

Fight Devon and Somerset fire cuts

Marching against single status pay cuts

Neither Labour nor Tories will defend public services

Post Office closures

Sheffield buses campaign: 'Saving our services'


 

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