British Gas workers on strike. Photo Steve Score
British Gas workers on strike. Photo Steve Score

Kat Gwyther, Leeds Socialist Party

The cost of living is through the roof. We’ve gone from one crisis to another. We’ve come out of the cycle of coronavirus lockdowns – which disproportionately impacted the health and livelihood of working-class people – to step straight into astronomical increases in everyday prices.

Domestic gas prices rose 28% in the year 2021–2022, while electricity rose by 19%. The energy price cap increased by 54% – for most households, a £700 increase in just their spending energy.

Who is suffering the brunt of this? Ordinary people. My own gas bill has increased from £20 to £53 a month. And I am a single-person household, and work from an office 9am to 6pm every weekday.

To make this even worse, when I rang my gas company to ask about financial help, I was told that because my previous company had gone bust, my new company could not help me, because I was not yet a customer. But I am enough of a customer that the energy firm can benefit from my 165% bill increase!

Gas companies are profiteering off these increases. British Gas profits, for example, increased by 44% in 2021–2022. This is the same British Gas that used ‘fire and rehire’, which 7,000 of its workers went on strike against. The Socialist Party supported the workers all the way.

It’s not just energy bills that have increased. This is across the board.

Inflation has risen to over 7%. But wages have not increased in line with this. Working-class people are being squeezed dry.

And yet the capitalist class, exemplified by the governor of the Bank of England, have the nerve to tell us not to ask for a pay rise, as if we are the greedy ones! There’s only so much tightening of the belt you can do, when you aren’t being paid enough to live on.