THE Government’s UK inflation rate figure fell again, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), for the third month in a row, down from 2.3 per cent in October to 2.1 per cent in November.
However, although the Chancellor’s very limited Consumer Prices Index (CPI) fell, it still remained above the Bank of England’s two per cent target.
The ONS tried to say yesterday that a slight fall in petrol prices, no doubt the lull before another steep rise in prices takes place, had the largest downward effect on CPI inflation, adding that there was an ‘additional downward impact’ from lower airfares, particularly on European routes.
However, even the ONS had to say that this had been tempered by a slight rise in tobacco and alcoholic drink prices, as retailers passed on price increases first seen in October. Food, mainly meat and soft drinks, also saw prices rise.
In the real world however, where there are no slight rises in the cost of living, electricity bills have gone up by 15 per cent, and because of this, the UK’s largest power firm, British Energy, was reporting record operating profits of £135 million for the half year.
Gas prices have also risen by up to 15 per cent, with the House of Commons Trade and Industry committee saying that rapidly rising gas prices could mean more vulnerable groups suffering.
On Monday, the ONS said that business gas prices surged 44.9 per cent in a single month, in November, the biggest monthly inflationary rise since records began in 1991.
Then there are the rise in bus and train fares of about nine per cent, and the continuing major rises in Council Tax.
On top of these are the rises in the cost of education with the introduction of variable tuition fees for students, with additional annual charges of up to £3,500.
Then there are the weekly costs of getting children to school early, and staying there until early evening in pre-school and after-school clubs, so that parents can go to work.
There are also numerous additional expenses. One of these is the major cost to millions of people forced to go to expensive private dentists, because in many regions of the country there are very few or no NHS dentists at all.
The official rate of inflation reflects none of the major price rises that families have to wrestle with to survive.
The government rate is rigged, and avoids the massive increases in basic necessities.
The reason for this is so the government can use its fake inflation rate to hold down and even cut wages. It dictates that millions of workers are to get wage rises no bigger than two per cent, meaning they are to have wage cuts imposed on them.
The trade unions must break with the government’s fake cost of living index.
The trade unions must draw up their own cost of living index focusing on the real price rises in the basic necessities of working class life.
They must also demand that wages are automatically increased in line with increases in this real, trade union cost of living index.
This is the way to help preserve working class living standards in a period of the greatest capitalist crisis.