Young Socialists marching against Tory policies
Young Socialists marching against Tory policies

Josh Asker, Socialist Party national committee

This Tory government of the rich is preparing for the next parliamentary session, as the Socialist goes to press. A member of the royal family will make a speech, and the government will outline its planned legislation for the next term.

What will be missing is any real measures to address the cost-of-living crisis, and the biggest hit to living standards since the 1950s. Instead, Boris Johnson will serve up regurgitated guff about ‘levelling up’ and so-called Brexit freedoms, attempting to divert our attention.

One way Johnson is responding to the cost-of-living crisis is by preparing for some of its consequences – youth and working-class resistance. That’s why the government will try again to get more anti-protest legislation past the House of Lords.

During the 2019 general election, in an attempt to paint themselves as a ‘party for workers’, the Tories promised an ‘employment bill’ to tackle inequality in the workplace. The Queen’s Speech in 2019 declared: “An Employment Bill will enhance workers’ rights, supporting flexible working, extending unpaid carers’ entitlement to leave and ensure workers keep their hard-earned tips”, and promised £1 billion to fund more high-quality childcare.

The fact that none of this is close to coming into being proves that any promises made in this Queen’s Speech should also be taken with a mountain of salt.

Government-commissioned research in 2016 found that three-quarters of pregnant women and new mothers face discrimination at work. The government was urged to take urgent action then; it still hasn’t.

Broken promises

Low-paid hospitality workers were promised five years ago that legislation would be introduced to stop employers stealing their tips. Things still haven’t changed in that time waiting staff have lost an estimated £10,000 each, according to Unite the union.

Employers will not be obliged to report the ethnicity pay gap, or give flexible working to those with caring responsibilities.

The fact is, the Tory government’s number one priority is to make Britain a profitable place for big business to invest. Protecting workers’ rights is at odds with this, and that is why it will not introduce any meaningful legislation.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady responded: “Tinkering around the edges with feeble statutory codes is not going to rein in unscrupulous employers. We need proper legislation for that.”

What she doesn’t mention is the role that trade union organisation in the workplace plays in challenging the bosses, or the need for working-class political representation.

The TUC has called a national demonstration in London on 18 June, to demand an end to the cost-of-living crisis. This is a good start, but it must be prepared for by mobilising workers in every workplace and by organising subsidised transport.

To truly show workers’ strength, a mass demonstration in June must be used as a stepping stone towards coordinated strike action for a pay rise.

The Socialist Party says:

Pay, benefits, pensions

  • An immediate above-inflation pay rise for workers to restore wages after over a decade of pay freezes and below-inflation rises
  • Regular pay increases for all, linked to trade-union agreed measures of inflation
  • Raise the minimum wage to £15 an hour, without exemptions
  • Restore the pension triple lock
  • Restore the additional £20-a-week Universal Credit payment. End the benefit cap
  • Living benefits and pensions for all who need them, rising with the cost of living


  • Freeze council and social housing rents
  • Rent controls to cap rents – decided by elected bodies of tenants, housing workers and trade union representatives

Make the rich pay, not the workers

  • No rise in national insurance or council tax, scrap student debt
  • No worker should be made to pay more tax, raise tax thresholds in line with inflation
  • Take the wealth off the super-rich, nationalise the top 150 companies and banks to be run under democratic working-class control and management, with compensation only on the basis of proven need

Price rises

  • Reverse the rise in the energy price cap. Nationalise energy and other utilities under democratic workers’ control and management to reduce bills by removing the profit motive
  • No increase in public transport fares. Return transport into public hands, to guarantee a fully funded, free, environmentally friendly, sustainable transport system
  • Stop price rises, end bosses’ profiteering. Open the books of big retailers to inspection by trade unions. Nationalise the big retailers under democratic workers’ control to be run to meet need, not for profit

Trade union struggle

  • For a trade union-led struggle against the cost-of-living crisis.
  • The TUC-organised demonstration on 18 June must be used as a stepping stone towards coordinated strike action, uniting workers’ struggles for pay rises.
  • For fighting, democratic leaderships of the trade unions

New workers’ party

  • No trust in Starmer’s Labour to fight in our interests. For a new mass workers’ party based on trade union and workers’ struggle


  • End the chaos of the capitalist market. For a socialist plan of production, based on the needs of the overwhelming majority, not for profit