YESTERDAY’S inflation rate figures for January are not a shock, in fact, they are an understatement of what the real inflation rate is, as far as the cost of the basic necessities that working class families spend their hard-earned wages on, and the unemployed and the disabled their pittance of benefit.
Nevertheless, even these rigged government figures show that the CPI rate of inflation, that excludes housing costs, is now double the government’s target figure of two per cent, and has reached four per cent, an increase of 0.3 per cent over December.
The RPI inflation rate has now reached 5.1 per cent an increase of 0.3 per cent over the December inflation figure.
According to the government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS): ‘Two of the main factors that had an impact on the January data are the increase in the standard rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) to 20 per cent and the continued increase in the price of crude oil . . .The price of petrol stood at £1.27 per litre in January 2011, a record high.
The ONS added: ‘the increase in VAT contributed to prices, overall, rising by 6.7 per cent between December 2010 and January 2011, a record monthly increase.’
Bank of England governor Mervyn King will now be forced to write yet another letter to the government, after sending three last year, explaining why he is taking no action to cut inflation. In fact, he is backing inflation as a tool to cut wages.
Meanwhile, the journal of the International Association for Official Statistics has said that the public is losing faith in the official inflation rate data.
The report found: ‘The official price indices currently available for the UK are misleading the general public and of doubtful relevance for policy purposes.’
The journal states that ‘What has happened is that the statisticians have given more weight to questionable economic theory than to the public’s need for a clear and transparent measure of price inflation.
‘The end result is that politicians may make bad decisions because they are using bad statistics and the general public loses faith in the statisticians because of the gap they see between their own daily shopping experience and the official measure of inflation.’
This ‘gap’ is now obvious and glaring to every shopper in the country!
The TUC’s deputy general secretary, Frances O’Grady, yesterday stated the obvious that ‘Workers are facing an unprecedented assault on their living standards. Thanks to the increase in VAT, real wages this year are likely to be no higher than in 2005. It’s clear these are hugely difficult times for working people.’
She added: ‘With local authorities already laying off tens of thousands of workers, it’s inevitable that unions’ primary focus this year will be on jobs – but we must not settle for second best when it comes to pay. Winning better pay for workers is essential not just to help people through this period of austerity, but to lay the foundations for a stable and sustainable recovery.’
The TUC, in fact, must defend every job, and demand real cost of living wage rises. There must be no acceptance of a slave labour economy. The Cameron-led coalition is threatening to bring in new anti-union laws to impose mass sackings and wage cuts. The TUC must fight, break and smash such laws.
It must draw up its own cost of living index that corresponds to the real rises in the cost of living, and demand wages that match price rises.
The only way to win this two-point programme is through calling a general strike to defend jobs and defend living standards.
The Tories say that such action is illegal. The trade unions must respond that defending jobs and wages from attack is what trade unions were brought about to do, and what is both criminal and illegal is putting millions on the dole and destroying living standards.
A general strike must be called to bring down the coalition and bring in a workers government and socialism. Anything less than this constitutes a betrayal of the real interests of the working class and youth of the country, and the generations to come.