PRIME Minister Boris Johnson is expected to mount a billion pound rescue operation to postpone energy-intensive British basic industries from going under, as gas prices continue to rocket upwards.
On Sunday, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told the BBC he had asked the Treasury to support firms that were crashing due to massive rising energy costs. He was immediately contradicted by the Treasury who insisted that there had been no such talks.
Businesses meanwhile stated that they needed a ‘swift response’ from the Treasury, with steel and other vital industries poised to close.
The state of British capitalism has now become a joke. A cartoon was displayed in The Daily Telegraph depicting Business Secretary Kwarteng with a sign begging: ‘Oppressed Business Sec. Down on his luck – factories to support’ while an arrogant Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak storms past him, determined to bring in his plan for massive cuts regardless.
The plain fact is that British capitalists are begging for rescue while the government is preparing savage expenditure cuts in the new year, and the Bank of England is planning interest rate rises, and huge budget cuts.
The Tory government is meanwhile terrified that without a massive intervention at the taxpayers’ expense factories will close and many hundreds of thousands of jobs will be destroyed, along with their levelling up propaganda.
The bosses are demanding that their energy costs be capped, and that the working class must foot the bill!
In fact, direct subsidies to the bosses will add to the savage cuts which Chancellor Sunak is expected to impose by curbing public spending in his Budget on 27 October. Meanwhile, gas prices are rising. Since January, they’ve risen 250%. And prices have soared 70% since August alone.
Faced with the economic collapse of British capitalism, the trade union leadership of the TUC is supporting major subsidies for big business, and opposing occupations and a general strike to defend the millions of jobs at stake.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham is egging on PM Johnson to ‘get a grip and bang heads together’ to avert massive job losses or wage cuts as a result of the energy costs crisis.
She added: ‘The country is now in the ridiculous position of contemplating factory shutdowns across viable manufacturing and businesses because we now have unsustainable energy costs to add into the storm caused by supply chain shortages.
‘Unite’s members must not pay for this crisis – which is absolutely not of their making – with insecurity and attacks on jobs and pay. Workers and their families are worried sick about their jobs and incomes as we go into winter. This is not on.
‘The standoff between ministers and industry is irresponsible and threatens jobs and our recovery.’
She added: ‘Both business and the industries have to sit down with Unite and our sister manufacturing and energy unions to develop a plan to get through these coming weeks and months – and to use this moment to ensure we are never again in this position.’
She rejected strike action and nationalisation to defend the many thousands of jobs that are threatened.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘The government must not bury its head in the sand. We can’t afford for factories to grind to a halt, risking jobs and livelihoods across Britain.
‘Rather than rowing with each other, ministers should get industry leaders and unions around the table to find a way through this crisis. This should include looking at what financial support is needed in the weeks and months ahead to stop a wave of shutdowns.
‘And ministers must support workers too: if companies shutdown temporarily, ministers should reboot furlough into a permanent short-time working scheme to protect jobs.’
The TUC leaders know full well that the worldwide crisis of capitalism is hitting at its UK weakest link and that the bosses and the Tories are determined to cut wages and lengthen hours to keep bankrupt British capitalism going.
Workers must demand that the TUC recalls its General Council at once and that it calls for the occupation of all plants that are threatened with cuts or closure.
The TUC must be made to fight for the nationalisation of all of the major industries to defend wages and jobs and must call a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers’ government and a socialist planned economy.
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