“We have seen a brief flurry of largely insufficient cost-of-living support measures in an attempt to boost the PM’s poll ratings but thereafter we are heading down a very dystopian road indeed.”
By Rebecca Long Bailey MP
Boris Johnson is Prime Minster no more, but it’s really no time to celebrate. Sadly, things are about to get a whole lot worse.
We are already in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, investment bank Goldman Sachs has predicted inflation of 22% by early next year and many talk of a recession worse than that in 2008. This is on top of an already weak economic picture following 12 years of austerity that brought our public services and social safety net to absolute breaking point.
So all eyes are on the new Prime Minister Liz Truss. What support will she offer during this period of pain, where people will go cold and hungry and many may lose their homes, livelihoods and hope?
Well frankly the answer is sadly not much, other than low taxes, fracking and a resolute refusal to impose a windfall tax on the excessive profits of oil and gas producers.
This is the Prime Minister who is against wealth distribution, thinks tax cuts that favour the rich are fair, is pro fracking, co-authored a book calling British workers among the worst idlers in the world and advocated widespread roll out of enterprise zones offering freedom from corporate and personal taxes and minimal regulation.
Of course, we have seen a brief flurry of largely insufficient cost-of-living support measures in an attempt to boost the PM’s poll ratings but thereafter we are heading down a very dystopian road indeed.
A road which revives the most malign and destructive aspects of failed 1980’s right wing ‘trickle down’ economic doctrine.
And if you dare to speak out when your health and safety or employment rights are thrown out the window? Well the PM has also promised to introduce legislation targeting action by trade unions and increasing the ballot threshold required for strike action. This is despite her own Leadership election vote share being less than this proposed threshold!
But amidst this despair, have hope, because a movement is building. And we are at a pivotal social and political moment.
Thousands of people are already mobilising to campaign within their communities to demand action on the cost-of-living crisis.
And those demands aren’t radical, they are simply the very bedrock of any civilised society. Ensuring everyone has the means to maintain a decent standard of life.
• A real inflation-proofed pay rise as well as inflation-proofed rise in pensions and benefits
• Roadmap to a £15 an hour minimum wage
• Banning fire and rehire and zero-hour contracts
• Repealing anti trade union laws and rolling out a new deal for workers
• Not only freezing the price cap but solving the long-term failure of privatised energy through public ownership.
• A right to food for all, universal free school meals and a reinstatement of the universal credit £20 uplift.
• Rent caps, mortgage repayment caps for homeowners at risk, a mass council house building program and a charter for renters’ rights.
• And to meet these demands there is the simple request of asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share in tax.
We must all play our part in this movement for change. This is a pivotal moment in labour history when we fight for our children’s futures, for the lives we know they deserve: a full pay packet and a full and fruitful life.