Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/842/20054
From The Socialist newspaper, 4 February 2015
Death, taxes and energy profits
Energy companies' rising profits can be added to Benjamin Franklin's famous remark that the only certainties in the world are death and taxes.
Ofgem, the toothless industry watchdog, reckons the 'big six' energy giants will squeeze an average household profit of £114 next year (up from £105), despite wholesale energy costs falling by 30% in the last 12 months.
As usual, the big six protest that they're cutting consumer bills. But this comes after years of huge price rises and, typically, most of the bill reductions will occur after the worst of the winter weather, when energy demand begins to fall.
According to government statistics (the most recent are from 2012) some 2.28 million households were experiencing fuel poverty. However, under the previous definition of fuel poverty - ie spending 10% or more of income to heat your home - some 4.5 million households were affected.
Many people are having to choose between heating their homes or eating properly. Many also are in working households.
It shows that this government is doing next to nothing to assist cash strapped families while the cash tills continue to ring for big business.
Labour, eyeing the forthcoming general election, says it will give Ofgem powers to force energy companies to cut gas and electricity bills if wholesale prices fall, as well as freezing energy prices for 20 months.
The latter promise begs the question as to how Labour would prevent companies, before and after the price freeze, ramping up domestic bills if wholesale energy prices marginally increase? Clearly as long as the big six companies remain privately owned, controlling prices will prove to be elusive.
The obvious solution to setting affordable prices is to nationalise the major energy companies as part of an overall economic plan of production. In other words, you can end fuel poverty by socialist measures.
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Coronavirus crisis - 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.
- Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
- 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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.
In The Socialist 4 February 2015:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Get organised and fight back
NHS crisis: Establishment parties can't be trusted
Fracking in trouble, from Lancashire to Lanarkshire!
Death, taxes and energy profits
Hands off our housing benefit!
Them & Us
International socialist news and analysis
Cuba: Capitalist restoration threat accelerates
Greece: Syriza announces anti-austerity policies
Victory of the Marigold gloves
Socialist Party workplace news
Fighting for one London bus pay rate
Strike called off in face of inadequate pay offer
FBU recall conference: escalate pensions action!
Ferry workers win pay and conditions battle
National Gallery workers walk out against privatisation
Lambeth College strikers return to work
Ongoing battle to protect pay and conditions at college
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Londoners march for Homes
Academies victory: one down, four to go!
Rebuilding the student movement in Leicester
Gateshead fights for working class heritage
Election appeal 2015
Campaigns news in brief
Why I joined the Socialist Party
At least we got Labour's fish and chips!
Disciplined for political comment
Miners' strike: vibrant array of support groups
The Socialist 4 February 2015 |
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