“Myself and parliamentary colleagues from the Socialist Campaign Group wrote to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the Leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer, last week to demand that Parliament be recalled from recess”Jon trickett MP
By Jon Trickett MP
We’re in a cost of living crisis on a scale we haven’t seen for many decades.
Inflation stands at 10.1% and is expected to rise to 11% in October. The Office for Budget Responsibility says that workers are experiencing the worst fall in household income since records began.
This fall in living standards is forecast to be worse than the financial crash of the late 2000s, the recession of the early 1990s and stagflation in the 1970s. Now the Bank of England is predicting a recession that will last the whole of next year.
There are people in our country going to sleep at night fearful about how they’re going to pay their bills and put food on their table. It angers me that some families are skipping meals to save money.
But not everyone is feeling the pain, are they? Some are reaping the benefits. In fact, what is a crisis for the working class is being caused by the rampant profiteering of the owning class.
Oil and energy company profits are soaring. BP has just posted its biggest profits for 14 years. The oil producers greed has driven our planet to the brink of climate catastrophe and now their rampant profiteering is driving millions of people across the world into poverty.
Our country is richer than ever before, but the wealth isn’t distributed fairly. The richest 250 people in our country, alone, increased their wealth by nearly £60 billion from 2021-22.
Things are about to go from bad to worse. On August 26th the Government energy regulator, Ofgem, is set to announce another rise in the price cap, even though energy companies are already making record profits. The analysts at Cornwall Insights forecast the cap to hit £4,266 from January.
Let me be clear. People cannot afford another rise in energy bills. These figures are so astronomically large that it’s hard to imagine the consequences. We’re standing on the brink of a social precipice.
Gordon Brown was absolutely correct when he said that an Emergency Budget is required, now, so that measures can be in place in time for the winter.
We need action now but the Conservative Government refuses to introduce emergency economic measures. Therefore, we must force them into action.
For that reason myself and parliamentary colleagues from the Socialist Campaign Group wrote to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the Leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer, last week to demand that Parliament be recalled from recess within days of the Ofgem announcement so that emergency measures can be put in place to address the cost of living crisis.
It is to be welcomed that Labour’s frontbench has brought forward the new policy of freezing energy bills, but we must also recognise that for millions of people the cost of living is already far too high as it is. It’s not good enough to say that working people will only get slightly poorer under a Labour Government whereas they’ll get a lot poorer under a Tory Government. We need to provide solutions that will get this crisis under control and make our people better off.
Labour’s proposals should also include targeted support for those most in need, which should start with an immediate uplift to Universal Credit.
In addition, it’s clear that our energy market is totally dysfunctional and is not serving the interests of people and planet. This sector is too important to leave to the control of private companies. Therefore we should be arguing for public ownership of energy as a long term solution to the cost of living and climate crises.
Research from the TUC has found that it would cost £2.85 billion to take the big 5 energy retail companies into public ownership. If these companies are to be bailed out by the taxpayer then it should come with a public stake in these companies at the very least.
This policy has been endorsed by Labour Party members, the TUC and now Gordon Brown has said he thinks it may be necessary in the near future. It’s time Labour’s frontbench came on board.
We need Parliament to be recalled so these arguments can be heard. This will require people across our country to contact their own MPs to demand they also call for Parliament to be recalled.
A movement is growing across our country that refuses to be ripped off by greedy corporations and corrupt Tory politicians any longer. It’s time for the Labour Party to speak for this movement in the House of Commons.
- Jon Trickett is the MP for Hemsworth and a regular contributor to Labour Outlook. You can follow him on Facebook, Instagram and twitter.