Prices, profits and civil unrest

While the government is in meltdown, millions of working-class people in Britain struggle for survival. Money saving expert Martin Lewis has gone from giving advice to consumers on how to reduce bills, to issuing regular statements on £3,000 energy bills and predicting “civil unrest”.

Sainsbury’s sell less food but keep up profits

People can’t afford the basics. The evidence is there. Britain’s second biggest supermarket, Sainsbury’s, has seen sales fall 4% in the 16 weeks to June, compared to the year before. Its boss says the company are doing “everything we can to keep prices low”.

The supermarket also wants to reassure investors that it is on course to meet its profit target of over £630 million in the year to March 2023. Clearly not doing “everything” then! How about lowering prices by lowering profits?

Petrol prices

Another checkout that brings about a cold sweat is at the fuel pump. The price of a litre of petrol rose by 16.59p in June. Petrol now costs 191.27p per litre and diesel 198.84p.

Oil bosses will tell you that the cost of crude oil is increasing, that the war in Ukraine is solely to blame. But the Competition and Markets Authority has found that the price gap between crude oil and the final refined product has tripled, from 10p per litre last year to 35p now.

More of the cost of your tank is going to the big oil corporations, and a substantial amount in fuel duty to the Treasury too. No wonder protests, including motorway ‘go-slows’, have begun to develop.

What choice?

The choices for workers: go without, into debt, or simply don’t pay. The number of households missing a bill payment has topped 2 million every month of 2022, and prices keep rising. Meanwhile, demand for debt services has jumped 30% among Lloyds Bank customers in 2022. Of course, the better option is to join the growing number of workers getting organised at work, joining trade unions and taking action for a real pay rise. And linked to this, fighting to help build a new workers’ party to act in our interests.