THE Council Tax is set to rise by four per cent on average this year, more than double the government’s current rate of inflation figure of 1.9 per cent. In fact, seven out of ten councils are planning rises of between 3.1 per cent and five per cent.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said yesterday: ‘Our expectation is that most council tax bills should be below five per cent.’
This statement comes just after the government has let it be known that there will be no £200 pensioners’ rebate this year, at a time when gas and electricity prices have risen by 40 per cent in a year.
There have already been cases of pensioners receiving prison sentences because they could not afford to pay the Council Tax. It is certain that a lot more pensioners are going to find themselves behind bars over non payment of this tax.
However, not only pensioners are going to be hit hard by the rises in the council tax and the rocketing up of energy prices.
The Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society has just reported that one in four workers now has a second job, to try to keep the fast-rising cost of living at bay.
British workers already work the longest hours in the European Union. Now we learn that more than half of those questioned by the survey worked for an extra 10 hours a week on top of their regular jobs.
This means that tired and exhausted workers, literally working themselves to death, are going to be much more vulnerable to accidents and getting injured both at work and in the home, and that both they and their children will suffer from seeing far less of each other.
More than one in six of those questioned said they worked at least 21 hours a week on top of their regular occupation.
With personal debt at more then £1.3 trillion, and the cost of living skyrocketing, workers are seeking to keep their heads above water by working longer and longer hours.
The Liverpool Victoria’s head of external affairs made the telling point that the estimated savings gap in the UK is at least £27bn, meaning that despite all of the extra hours being worked millions of people cannot save a penny for the future.
What a brave new world this is, where pensioners starve so that they can pay for gas, electricity and the council tax, and where workers are forced to work longer and longer hours, in more than one job, and have a retirement age stretching from 65 to 69 or 70 to look forward to.
Nevertheless, in poverty-ridden Britain, there is an opposite. The rich are getting richer, there are more and more millionaires and even billionaires, benefiting from the squalor that is daily life for everybody else.
There is only one way to treat the council tax, and that is as a second Poll Tax – don’t pay it and bring down the government that is administering it.
On the issue of wages, jobs, working hours and pensions, the trade unions must insist that one job for 40 hours a week, at a living wage is the norm. The trade unions must dump the government’s fake cost of living index, and draw up their own based on the necessities of working class life.
The trade unions must insist that wages and the state pension rise automatically with this real cost of living index, and that employers who refuse to, see their industries nationalised and put under workers’ control.
The only way to safeguard people’s, jobs, wages and pensions in a period of capitalist crisis is to get rid of capitalism. Protecting the value of wages and pensions will be a flying start in the struggle for socialism.