BRITISH Gas is to increase electricity prices by 12.5% from 15 September, Centrica has revealed, in a move that will drastically slash the living standards of its 3.1 million customers.
Its average household fuel bill will rise by £76 to £1,120, up by 7.3%. Centrica said the rise was a result of ‘transmission and distribution costs’ and the costs of ‘government policy’ – the government responded by stating its costs ‘could not explain these price rises’ – meanwhile it is the working class that will suffer.
Centrica chief executive Iain Conn admitted to the BBC’s Today programme that its wholesale costs had actually gone down. He said: ‘It is transmission and distribution of electricity to the home and government policy costs that are driving our price increase.’ He claimed: ‘We are selling electricity at a loss and that is not sustainable.’
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: ‘Energy firms should treat all their customers fairly and we’re concerned this price rise will hit many people already on poor value tariffs. Government policy costs make up a relatively small proportion of household energy bills and cannot explain these price rises.’
Government and business blame each other for the crisis – but it is the working class that is being caned! There is only one remedy, that the trade unions bring down the Tories and nationalise Centrica!
However, as homelessness rises and hundreds of thousands of workers and their children are in temporary accommodation, the Nationwide Building Society has revealed that a shortage of homes coming onto the market is helping to keep house prices high, and pushing them higher.
House prices increased by 0.3% in July – the second month running there has been a rise. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said estate agents had fewer properties on their books than at any time over the last 40 years, while the Nationwide insisted: ‘Constrained supply is likely to continue to provide support for house prices and, as a result, we continue to expect prices to rise by about 2% over 2017 as a whole.’
Earlier this week, the Bank of England said the number of mortgage approvals in the month fell to a nine-month low of 65,000, while Nationwide said that the average price of a house or flat in the UK is now £211,671.
The only solution to this crisis of homelessness is again that the trade unions do what is necessary. That is remove this government and bring in a workers government to nationalise the land and the building industry to build the millions of council homes to rent that are so desperately needed.
Meanwhile, whole sections of the working class and middle class are drowning in debt! The Moody’s credit agency has warned that Britain’s soaring debt levels are leaving the nation’s lowest earners dangerously exposed. This is after the Bank of England revealed that the amount borrowed by consumers on credit cards, loans and overdrafts has soared to £200 billion for the first time since the financial crash of 2008.
Moody’s adds: ‘An additional challenge is that households’ capacity to draw on savings to maintain consumption and/or service their consumer debts has significantly diminished.’ Bank of England official Alex Brazier, its executive director of financial stability, has hinted at the obvious – that the lessons of the 2008 crash have not been learnt and that the Bank of England may ask lenders to raise their capital buffers even further come September.
Governor Carney has also warned that lenders are ‘forgetting the lessons of the past’ as lending controls are relaxed and borrowing balloons upwards. The message from these crisis situations, where the working class and middle class are being pauperised on all fronts, is crystal clear.
The trade unions must be forced to take action to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government and socialism.
The only way to deal with the threat of another great crash is by ‘expropriating the expropriators’!
The trade union leaders are very reluctant to take such decisive action. All the more reason for workers and youth to join the WRP and the Young Socialists to rapidly build the revolutionary leadership that is prepared to take such action!