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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 January 2022

Cost of living crisis

We are the 99% - Take the wealth off the 1% Socialist Party placard, photo Paul Mattsson

We are the 99% - Take the wealth off the 1% Socialist Party placard, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Make the super-rich pay

Government figures put inflation at 5.4% in December - the highest in 30 years, and this is an underestimation. Even the more realistic Retail Price Index at 7.5% is not a true reflection of the cost of living crisis. After two years of a Tory government promising to 'level up', workers are increasingly worse off. This is before the effects of the planned lifting of the energy price cap and increase in national insurance contributions.

While workers are squeezed, those at the top are doing very well indeed. £94.1 billion was paid in dividends to shareholders of UK companies in 2021, an increase of 46.1% on the previous year.

Socialist Party members outline what the cost of living crisis means for them.

Energy bills forced me out of retirement

Covid put paid to a long-awaited holiday, so I retired early in August. My fixed-rate energy tariff ended in October, so I was back cleaning at a school for two months. My energy bill is up about 60%, roughly £4 a day for my one-bed property in winter, with more increases on the way.

I consider myself lucky with a work's pension (not gold plated) and a council property with no draughts or leaks. Decent accommodation should be a right, not good luck!

A recent error on my tax code meant I paid an extra £190 in tax, instead of getting the refund of about £500 I was owed. I had to cancel payments for rent, council tax and energy bills until next month when the tax refund will come through, and I start to receive my state pension.

It's about time the trade unions did a 'Real Price Inflation' index. I would guess it's 10%, 20% plus. After all, the current 'Retail Price Index' includes champagne!

Unexpected expenses, replacing broken fridges, etc, are pushing many from poverty to extreme poverty. There are people far worse off than me, especially youth on zero-hour contracts with no sick pay and pensions.

Joe Foster, Birmingham North Socialist Party

Most of our income on a tiny studio flat

My partner and I rent a studio flat in Epsom, Surrey. We are both working professionals, and yet the best we could afford was a studio space in zone 6, on the outskirts of London.

The situation with housing in and around London is truly terrifying.

The idea, as an adult in London, of having 'your own private space' is increasingly unrealistic. Sharing a space with a partner or friends sounds great, but the reality is that most do so because it is unaffordable to do otherwise.

Returning back to our little studio space, it's astonishing that an employed single adult might not be able to afford even a studio space almost as far from the centre of London as possible!

Renting far from the city centre is becoming more problematic; not only is the rent increasing, but the further from the city you are, the higher the council tax. If you are already struggling to pay the rent plus bills, £200+ worth of council tax can become a real challenge.

It is ridiculous that in a city as big as London, where new buildings are built all the time, working-class and poor people are facing a constant housing struggle. While new overpriced flats are sold to rich investors, we are forced to give most of our income to landlords, just to afford a tiny space.

Julija Rusevica, South West London Socialist Party

Millionaires: 'Tax us now!'

So-called 'Patriotic Millionaires', a 102-strong group of super-rich individuals, published an open letter ahead of a meeting of the World Economic Forum which ended on 21 January. In the letter they say: "Few if any of us can honestly say that we pay our fair share in taxes".

The group suggest a wealth tax - 2% on those with more than $5 million, rising to 5% for dollar billionaires. A levy as small as this would raise more than $2.52 trillion - enough to provide the entire world with vaccines and universal healthcare. Imagine what could be done if this vast wealth was seized and transferred into democratic public ownership!

The letter ends: "It's taxes or pitchforks. Let's listen to history and choose wisely", revealing the authors true motivation - fear of the working class and poor internationally getting organised to fight back.



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In The Socialist 26 January 2022:


What we think

We need a workers' alternative to big business Tories and Labour


News

Lords reject parts of anti-protest bill

News in brief

Social care providers put profit before residents' needs - nationalise care now


Cost of living

Cost of living crisis


Trade unions and the cuts

Trade unions and the fight against council cuts


Workplace news

Barts NHS workers strike back

Sheffield Just Eat strikers step up action and hold mass rally

Oaks Park School: valiant strike exposed state of schools

Education: Workload and inflation goes up, incomes fall

DWP reps demand action from PCS leadership

10,000 tube workers vote to strike - don't make workers pay for TfL funding crisis

Strike action by Carmarthenshire winter gritters wins concessions from council

Universities: Strike action at 68 in two disputes

Worksop Wincanton logistics workers begin ninth week of strike action


International news

Trade unionists in the USA fighting back


Campaigns news

Hundreds protest to save St Mary's Leisure Centre in Southampton

Wakefield TUSC - Fighting for low-paid workers and NHS

Eviction resistance on the march in Waltham Forest

This is students' chance to fight back - help build 2 March NUS walkout

Selling the Socialist


Environment

Britain's waterways choked with a 'chemical cocktail'


Readers' opinion

War in Yemen, made in Harlow, profit for rich

Somers 'slaughterhouse' Forge

UK Covid-19 mortality similar to Spanish Flu

It's my party, and I'll lie if I want to


 

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