Socialist Worker

Prioritise people’s energy needs and dump fossil fuels

Issue No. 2773

Gas prices are going to soar over winter

Gas prices are going to soar over winter (Pic: Flickr/ Gerard Stolk)


Freezing homes, soaring bills and empty shelves are all the Tories and their deadly system can provide for working class people this winter.

Chaos in the fuel industry means that households could be slapped with an extra £280 a year for their gas and electricity on top of the £139 already in the pipeline.

And that comes just as the furlough scheme is set to end, and the £20 Universal Credit uplift is scrapped.

This massive hike in prices will push struggling people to the brink and force many to choose between a warm home or food on the table.

Last winter 8,500 people died in England and Wales because they couldn’t afford to heat their homes. Most of these deaths are comprised of the elderly, who the Tories decided were expendable during the pandemic.

Death

Add to this already existing fuel poverty, rising bills and a respiratory virus like Covid-19 and the death toll is likely to be much higher this year.

Fuel bosses are already clamouring for the Tories to bail them out. But saving the industry as it currently stands is not a solution.

Instead, we need to change the whole way energy is supplied. A planned energy system would start from ensuring people get the energy they need, not from whether private firms can rake off profits.

It would scrap the ridiculous regime of “competition” that sees endless “special offers” followed by swift price rises.

And it would also integrate working class people’s requirements with the crucial move to a system of renewable power.

The gas crisis is about supplies and bills, as well as the issue of whether fossil fuel use is going to drive us to climate chaos and mass extinction.

Chaos of the market fuelled the gas crisis
Chaos of the market fuelled the gas crisis
  Read More

Far too often action on the climate is portrayed as a threat to workers. There are already calls to lift environmental curbs in order to drive down prices.

And some trade union leaders still parrot the lie that serious measures to deal with climate change will hit jobs.

A planned system would mean many more jobs in renewable production, insulating homes and refitting factories and offices.

This week has seen a stark crisis—and it’s the result of Tory policies and capitalist priorities.

The solution is democratic public ownership of the whole energy industry to bring a fundamental shift to sustainable production geared to ordinary people’s needs.

A power industry run for profit, which leads to poverty, starvation, death and environmental destruction, must go up in smoke.

Join the People’s Assembly demonstration at the Tory Party conference on Sunday 3 October. Assemble 12 noon, Oxford Road, near Whitworth Park, Manchester M14 4PW. For events on 2-5 October go to thepeoplesassembly.org.uk

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