Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 September 2021

Energy market chaos makes the case for nationalisation

The energy crisis is not simply a one-ff 'perfect storm', but is inherent in the profit-driven market economy

The energy crisis is not simply a one-ff 'perfect storm', but is inherent in the profit-driven market economy   (Click to enlarge)

Simon Carter, East London Socialist Party

Millions of gas consumers face price hikes and uncertainty in supplies as energy companies go bust. Yet again, privatisation and the market has failed.

Faced with a surge in wholesale gas prices, smaller energy suppliers, who signed up customers onto lower-paying tariffs, are now going bankrupt. At the start of the year there were 70 suppliers in the UK. By the end of the year only the 'Big Five' domestic energy companies, and a handful of others, are likely to be operating.

The government tells us not to worry as affected customers' accounts will be transferred to the remaining energy companies. But there's no guarantee that existing tariffs will be honoured. Most likely these customers will be put onto higher tariffs.

In October, the government's energy price cap will be lifted allowing companies to ramp up our gas and electricity bills. Now, the Tories are refusing to rule out another raising of the price cap this winter to prevent energy companies collapsing.

Coming on top of increased rents, rising food prices, higher transport fares, the ending of furlough, a hike in national insurance and a cut in Universal Credit, these energy price hikes will mean many families facing financial ruin and even homelessness. The gas price hike also threatens the meat supply industry, possibly leading to shortages in supermarkets.

This crisis situation is not simply a consequence of a one-off 'perfect storm' of events, but is inherent in the profit-driven market economy. Boom and bust is the norm under capitalism, not the exception.

Moreover, the big energy multinationals also invest in oil and gas fields. So any hike in wholesale prices will benefit them.

Now, the profit-hungry energy company executives are demanding government subsidies or 'rescue loans' to keep them afloat. The same people who enjoy bloated salaries, gold-plated private pensions, and sumptuous lifestyles.

The Johnson government, whose predecessor Thatcher Tory government sold off nationalised gas for a song in 1986, may well oblige these parasites by sinking more public funds into these failed enterprises.

For most people, however, privatisation has been a disaster, with energy prices rising in real terms and profits increasing.

Clearly, the rational solution to the energy crisis is to renationalise the big companies, under democratic workers' control and management, as part of a 'green' plan of production.

However, the Labour Party does not call for such a measure. In the 2019 general election, along with a 'windfall tax' on energy giants, Jeremy Corbyn proposed bringing the "supply arms of the Big Six energy companies... into public ownership". Under Starmer, there isn't even the hint of a windfall tax, let alone this call for partial nationalisation.

That's why the fight for cheap, renewables-based energy supplies must be tied to the fight for socialist policies and building a new mass workers' party to implement them.

Donate to the Socialist Party

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 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.
  • 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 Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 22 September 2021:

What we think

Workers' politics won't come from Labour


Working class under attack

NHS workers reject 3% insult

Energy market chaos makes the case for nationalisation

Tory cuts to Universal Credit: we need a union fightback

Interview: Bakers' union to vote on Labour disaffiliation

Tax fraud could be over 20 billion annually

Life expectancy falls - a condemnation of capitalism


Socialists and the four-day week


10 years since Occupy

Workplace news

End the teaching workload crisis

MOJ pay deal accepted - we demand 10%

Workers at 13 colleges to strike over pay

New strike dates in EMR guards dispute

Stop press: Sparks walk out

Oaks Park strikers call eleven days' more action


German general election


Unemployment, low pay, rip-off uni fees, climate change... Join the fight for Socialism

Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs relaunched

W Sussex 'disability tax' - protest not going away

Fighting evictions in Cornwall

Leeds taxi drivers and disabled passengers unite to fight station changes

Socialist Students: Youth lit up when they saw us

York: Non-binary and trans rights protest

Readers' opinion

TV Review - Help: Heart-wrenching portrayal of Covid care home crisis

Gleision mine deaths: Still fighting for justice

Corbyn had a social care plan

Who pays for the climate crisis?

Famine in Madagascar


Home   |   The Socialist 22 September 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleCaerphilly and RCT Socialist Party: Nationalise gas and energy

triangleCapitalist climate hypocrisy

triangleEnd profit-fuelled crisis

triangleWho pays for the climate crisis?

triangleWhy I joined the Socialist Party


triangleTory government nationalises Sheffield steel plant

triangleWhat's needed to stop more Covid outbreaks?

triangle1971: Rolls-Royce crisis - when the Tories nationalised in order to secure the interests of British capitalism

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: The case for nationalisation


triangleRailway bosses cook the books in another capitalist market failure

triangleStop the Channel 4 sell-off!

triangleNHS white paper: no solution to failed Tory policies


triangleCWI livestream rally report

triangleFight price hike


triangleThe 'winter of discontent' - When workers could take no more


triangleFamine in Madagascar

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Cynical Johnson government no friend of workers



Workers need a pay rise



Fight for the pay rise we deserve



News in brief



Social care funding needed now


Climate change

Build a mass working-class climate movement with socialist policies



Socialism 2021 event: 19-21 November 2021


Universal Credit

Tories plunge millions further into poverty



Sarah Everard trial reveals police abuse of power



Bakers' union disaffiliates from Labour



Railway bosses cook the books in another capitalist market failure


Climate change

Capitalist climate hypocrisy



Pay NHS and care staff to address worker shortages



Capitalism's economic instability in the 'new normal'



Pandora leaks put capitalism in the dock

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

October 2021

September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021