Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/428/5021
From The Socialist newspaper, 22 February 2006
Gas price rise the biggest in history !
BRITISH GAS is increasing prices by 22%, the second rise in six
months; most household energy bills will probably now exceed £1,000.
Newspapers call it the biggest gas price rise in British history.
We're told to exercise 'choice' by switching supplier but four other
major energy companies also increased prices! Energy isn't a 'consumer
choice' - it's an essential service without which we cannot lead our
lives. And one 'choice' we certainly don't have is to buy from a
non-profit-making nationalised company.
While British Gas shareholders last year divided the spoils of £337
million profits (up 64% on 2004), families struggled to foot gas bills
that grew 66% in two years.
The price rises' impact will be felt by 1.5 million UK families
living in 'fuel poverty' (or spending over 10% of income on energy
The number of such families had come down from a staggering four
million in 2000 but now another 250,000 families are tipped over the
edge. The social costs include increased ill-health, thousands of winter
deaths, more social exclusion and an adverse impact on children's
The 1986 flotation of British Gas was the most expensive
privatisation of a public utility. It's still costing us dear. Those
with big share portfolios grow very fat indeed, while most of us
struggle to pay hyper-inflating household bills. Very few of us will see
wage increases of comparable size.
The poll tax impoverished many families until it was defeated by a
strong working-class movement comprising public demonstrations and
'can't pay, won't pay' campaigns. Perhaps a similar fight could achieve
the renationalisation of public utilities, transport and services!
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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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In The Socialist 22 February 2006:
Unite Save pensions, jobs and services
Fight for your future!
Campaign for a New Workers' Party conference
Gas price rise the biggest in history !
Daggers at NHS's heart
Why rural workers need socialism
Bush and Blair's total failure
Car workers fight layoffs
Trade wars and protectionism
Khrushchev: The Stalinist who denounced Stalin
Music industry: Do we only hear his master's voice?
Good Night and Good Luck
Get your May Day greeting into the socialist!
University staff vote to strike over pay
The Socialist 22 February 2006 |
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