YESTERDAY, the energy regulator Ofgem announced the amount by which charges for gas and electricity will shoot up in April as it raised the energy price cap by 54%, the largest on record, that will hit 22 million households.
This massive increase follows an increase of 12% in energy bills in October when Ofgem last ‘updated’ the cap meaning that in six months workers will have been hit by a 66% increase in energy bills.
The latest increase means that typical gas and electricity customers will see an increase of £693 and end up paying nearly £2,000 a year for energy.
Even harder hit will be those on pre-paid meters.
Their energy bills will increase by £708 ending up with a yearly bill of £2,017.
With millions of households already facing a cost of living crisis with inflation running at 7% and the price of essentials like food increasing even more than this, the burden of a 54% increase on energy will land on the backs of families already reeling from the £20 a week cut in Universal Credit and the increase in National Insurance tax.
Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak immediately after Ofgem’s announcement, rushed out a ‘support package’ he said would ‘take the sting’ out of the energy price shock.
In fact, his package consisted of energy customers getting a one-off discount on their bills of £200 from October, actually a loan to be repaid in £40 instalments.
This miserable ‘loan’ will not take the sting out of the anger of workers and youth who are facing being driven into destitution by a capitalist class that is making billions on their backs.
This week, the London-based oil giant Shell announced it has increased its profits nearly fourteen-fold as oil and gas prices have shot up.
Shell announced pre-tax profits of $16.3 billion in the last three months of 2020, enabling it to reward its shareholders with an $8.5 billion bonanza by buying back their shares.
It’s billions for shareholders while millions of families are forced to choose between turning the heat on for an hour or buying enough food for their children.
This is not the end of the pain capitalism is about to inflict on the working class. The Bank of England yesterday hiked up interest rates by 0.25%.
This is the second time in three months that the Bank has increased interest rates as it desperately tries to stop inflation from spiralling out of control.
At the same meeting, the Bank decided to end its policy of buying government bonds used by the Tories to prop up the collapsing UK economy.
Even this small increase in interest rates will pile on the pressure for workers as it increases repayments on mortgages with those already struggling with repayments being tipped over the edge financially. Those without mortgages who have survived through credit card debt and payday loans will suffer a catastrophic hit.
While millions of families are already suffering from the capitalist crisis and now face being plunged into absolute poverty, all the TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady can say is that Sunak’s support package ‘is hopelessly inadequate’ and that the Tories should help workers by bringing in a windfall tax on the profits of the energy companies.
It is not a question of begging the Tories for help or pleading for a windfall tax – the only way forward for the working class is to put an end to this bankrupt capitalist system once and for all.
This means clearing out the leaders of the TUC who prostrate themselves before the Tories and bosses, replacing them with a new leadership prepared to mobilise the strength of the working class in a general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers’ government.
A workers’ government will nationalise the energy industry and oil companies placing them under the management of the working class as part of a socialist planned economy.
Only the WRP and Young Socialists are building the revolutionary leadership to meet and resolve the crisis of a decaying bankrupt capitalist system by the victory of the socialist revolution. Join us today.