By Sophie Squire
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2795

Escalate the fight against the fat cats

Pressure against Boris Johnson and his deadly policies is dwindling—rebuild the fightback
Issue 2795
Protesters sign reads, "The only thing that should be rising is the people."

Protesters in London call for more resistance to rising costs.

Politics is currently dominated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But behind politicians’ talk of “national unity”, the Tories are pressing ahead with vicious class attacks.

Despite this, the Labour Party and the media have dropped their outrage over Boris Johnson and his ­lockdown parties. Labour leader Keir Starmer made a speech on Johnson’s failings last weekend, but didn’t demand he resign. And the press is no longer interested in whether Johnson will receive a ­penalty notice from the cops or whether he must go.

Ordinary people can’t ignore the Tory assaults. The price of food, rent and energy bills are soaring. Last Saturday the People’s Assembly organised ­demonstrations over the cost of living. Rosie attended the event in London and told Socialist Worker, “My energy bill has doubled. It wasn’t even that the price crept up—January to March was a big increase.

“The war will make energy bills even worse, and people are profiting from it. I know it’s partly to do with wholesale prices—but it’s not all to do with wholesale prices. People are making money from it.”

Another protester, Lloyd, added, “I’ve been on a couple of these protests before. What can you do when you can’t rely on any of the politicians? You come out on the streets and be part of the crowd. As soon as the war starts to hit oil and gas prices we’ll foot the bill. British companies still have gas to export.

“Why would they sell it here at cost when they can make more money selling it elsewhere? Only when it’s nationalised is it going to stop.”

There are warnings energy bills could rise further to up to £3,000 annually according to estimates by Energy UK. Energy UK’s chief executive Emma Pinchbeck said on BBC 4’s Today programme, “I think, with what we’re seeing in Ukraine and in the oil and gas markets, we’re now expecting those to go up further. We’ve seen public figures quoting bills at around £3,000 in October. We know they’ll be around £2,000 from April when the price cap goes up.”

In a recent poll by AgeUK, 62 percent of people aged over 65 worry about how they will heat their homes—the equivalent of 7.8 million pensioners.

The average price of petrol hit records high last Wednesday. For the first time prices reached £1.50 per litre. Diesel also rose to £1.56 per litre. Prices in shops rose at the fastest rate in a decade in February. Several charities have said they may have to reduce the size of foodbank packages or even turn people away.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is pushing forward with an increase in National Insurance for most workers from 1 April. And the Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimates planned real-term cuts to benefits in April could put around 400,000 people into poverty.

But one group will not be finding April hard. MPs will collect a pay rise of more than £2,200 a year from 1 April. That’s over twice as much as they axed from people on Universal Credit. MPs’ pay will increase from £81,932 to £84,144. And there are fat expenses and extras for ministers.

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