THE OUT OF CONTROL UK inflation rate has hit double digits – 10.1% according to the Office for National Statistics. It says it’s at a higher rate than analysts were predicting – the last time price rises were in double digits was in February 1982!
Rising food and drink prices made the biggest contribution to the change in the inflation rate between June and July. Bread, cereals, milk, cheese and eggs had a particular impact on rising prices
But the cost of living is rising across the board, driven partly by energy costs and NATO’S Ukraine war, but also factors such as the cost of raw materials.
Meanwhile, average wage increases are falling behind, with the average salary buying 3% fewer goods and services than a year before.
Inflation is expected to continue rising this year, with the Bank of England predicting it won’t go down to the target 2% for about two years!
For most of the last ten years, the richest have faced slightly higher inflation than the poorest. But this year is different: the big drivers of price rises are food and fuel.
And the poorest spend more of their money there, so they’re being hit hardest. Inflation imposed on the poor by the bosses and their government has overtaken that seen by the richest. And that gap is now the widest it has been since the financial crash.
The managing director of Iceland has even discussed the supermarket chain’s new interest-free ‘microloans’ scheme to help shoppers with rising inflation.
Richard Walker said the company had been trialling the scheme for 18 months. ‘These are affordable microloans that are very time-limited and small amounts – anything from £25 up to £75,’ he said yesterday.
Customers repay around £10 a week and there’s no interest, he says. Iceland has partnered with a charity-owned not-for-profit called Fair For You, an ethical lending provider, and they are assessing people who are struggling to make ends meet, he says.
‘There’s plenty of those around at the moment and, if they’re successful in their application, they’ll get a pre-loaded Mastercard that they can spend in an Iceland shop.’ Its the 21st century being returned to the the 19th and ‘company stores’ by the crisis.
Unite leader Sharon Graham has commented that corporate greed is driving price rises not wages. Commenting on the ONS inflation figures released yesterday, Graham said: ‘Today inflation reached new perilous levels for workers and their families. Yesterday, real wages fell to the lowest on record.
‘So, if today’s figures prove anything it’s that wages are not driving inflation. Since the pandemic, the FTSE top 350 have seen profits soar by 43 per cent. Britain has a profiteering crisis – when is something going to be done about that?’
Meanwhile the Foreign Secretary and favourite to be the next Tory PM, Liz Truss, has been found out. When she was Chief Secretary to the Treasury, she suggested that British workers needed to show ‘more graft’ and ‘lacked the skill and application of foreign rivals.’
Truss in fact co-authored a book ‘Britania Unchained’ claiming that British workers who are amongst the ‘worst idlers in the world,’ were the source of the UK’s bosses problems.
She is planning to smash national trade unions with regional pay deals being made compulsory. She is supporting a massive offensive against the working class to try to force it to accept 19th centurywages and working conditions.
A massive offensive, based on Thatcherism, may well be launched as soon as she is imposed as Tory leader, with new anti-union laws waiting to be pushed through.
In this crisis situation there is only one way forward for the trade unions. This is for the trade unions at their TUC Congress on Monday September 12th to take the fight to Truss and the Tories by calling an indefinite general strike to bring down the Tory government and go forward to a Workers Government based on Workers Councils, presiding over the nationalisation of the banks, oil companies and the major industries, constituting a planned socialist economy.
Demand the TUC take general strike action from September 12th, to bring down the Tories and go forward to a workers government and socialism.