THERE is ‘no shortage of fuel’ and people should be ‘sensible’ and only fill up when they need to, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said yesterday amid long queues outside the minority of petrol stations that remained open, as British capitalism was brought unceremoniously to a halt.
Shapps said he was introducing a ‘big package’ of measures, including temporary visas for HGV drivers, to help the situation, in his version of far too little, far too late.
Shapps told the Andrew Marr show that the situation ‘would right itself’ – surely the last words of the captain of the modern capitalist UK ‘Titanic’ economy as it prepared to nosedive.
Meanwhile, the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit has been branded as ‘diabolical’ by those who are set to lose out and the trade unions, as it is about to be implemented.
The £20 a week uplift was introduced as a top-up to help people during the pandemic, but it is being stopped from next week at the same time as the good ship UK Titanic is about to go down, dragging millions more into poverty with huge price rises.
Iceland’s Richard Walker has observed there had been an ‘alarming rise’ in the number of UK food banks, and there were now more of them than branches of the McDonald’s fast food chain.
Figures from the Centre for Economics and Business Research are predicting that the millions of UK poor are about to be hit for six, as the Bank of England warns that inflation is set to rise above 4%, and that the working class and the poor are being set up to pay for the bosses’ crisis.
Ahead is the regulator Ofgem’s planned 12% rise in the energy price cap next month for 15 million standard variable tariff customers, as well as a likely further jump of at least 14% next April after record gas price rises. These rises are likely to slice around £315 a year or 2.5% off of the average household’s disposable income.
The lowest income households are expected to pay an extra £258 a year, a much bigger share of their disposable income – at 16%.
This is while the richest fifth will pay more – at £368, less than 1% of their disposable income.
As usual it is the poorest that pay the most as the rich suffer in their luxury set-ups.
In fact, the working class and the poor are being set up to pay the bill for the whole of society, if the bosses and their various political parties are allowed to implement their plans.
The trade union leaders must now be forced to take action to defend the lives and health of the working class. They must also defend the poor and their children as capitalism seeks to resolve the crisis with the most savage cuts and closures in its history.
The TUC General Council must meet in emergency session and decide that it will not tolerate any wage cuts, the lengthening of working hours or job cuts, or any attacks on the poor to assist the bosses out of their crisis.
The TUC must take action to ensure that capitalism is made to pay the price for yet another collapse of the capitalist system.
The trade unions must set up Councils of Action in every area to mobilise entire populations for the battle to stop every job cut and benefit cut, and to force through a programme of no increases in gas and electricity prices and no increases in food prices.
The trade unions and the TUC must declare that the savage attacks that are being made on workers and the poor will be resisted with an indefinite general strike and a mobilisation of the entire working population and the poor to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers’ government.
This will nationalise the banks and the major industries and put them under workers’ control, and then under workers’ management.
A workers’ government in the UK will then organise with the working class of the US, Europe and the world to go forward to the World Socialist Republic.
This will consign capitalism to the Museum of Natural History where it truly belongs.