Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/522/3833
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.
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.
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- 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
Editorial: Stop witch-hunts in Unison - defend those attacked!
Trade union activist fights intimidation
Members protest at Unison witch-hunt
Student feature: Fighting fees
Campaign for a New Workers Party
Building the Campaign for a New Workers' Party
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'
The Socialist 27 February 2008 |
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