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From: The Socialist issue 1120, 10 February 2021: Tories admit market failure - we want our NHS back!

Search site for keywords: Energy - Households - Cuts - Climate change

Big Energy piles on the misery

  (Click to enlarge)

Energy regulator Ofgem has raised the price cap on what gas and electricity companies can charge 15 million households by between 87 and 96 a year (1,156 or 1,138) - a 9% increase - from 1 April. The price cap is the maximum energy companies can charge consumers.

This sizeable price rise comes at a time when many households' incomes have been pummelled by the effects of the pandemic, including wage and job cuts.

It also will hit poor households at exactly the same time as Chancellor Rishi Sunak is planning to claw back the 20 pandemic increase in Universal Credit. Before the pandemic hit us, 'fuel poverty' was already affecting over 10% of households in the UK.

Industry-friendly Ofgem boss Jonathan Brearley blithely told customers that "if they want to avoid the increase in April they should shop around for a cheaper deal".

But 23 of this increase is energy companies clawing back costs incurred from unpaid consumer bills.

Energy companies are also accused of passing on to consumers the Climate Change Levy - the government's environment tax - and the cost of installing smart meters (even though companies save administration costs).

The nationalisation of 'big energy', which could mean clean energy generation and lower household fuel bills, is long overdue.

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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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • 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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