Workers Can’t Wait – Urgent action to tackle the cost-of-living crisis

“Whilst we are in the middle of the deepest crisis in generations, the Tories are clearly more interested in doing the bidding of their rich backers than saving lives, jobs and livelihoods.”

By Matthew Willgress, Labour Assembly Against Austerity

Liz Truss’ energy cap announcement on the day of writing (September 8) won’t stop millions more falling into poverty & leaves the mega energy corporations’ obscene energy profits untouched. As Richard Burgon MP said in response to the statement, “six months ago households had an energy bill price cap of £1,300. We are today being told that fixing prices at £2,500 is the best the Government can do to help people. It’s not. Private energy profits are being put before the needs of people.”

As massive meetings across the country proclaim ‘enough is enough’ and more and more workers take industrial action to protect the jobs, livelihoods and public services of us all, what is becoming clear is that people can’t wait for real action to tackle the ever-deepening cost-of-living crisis.

Whilst we are in the middle of the deepest crisis in generations, the Tories are clearly more interested in doing the bidding of their rich backers than saving lives, jobs and livelihoods. Whilst too often the Labour front bench – whilst laying out some important political differences from the Tories on issues such as Windfall taxes – is not putting forward a radical, transformative package that will meet the scale of the crisis and other challenges ahead, including the climate emergency.

Both as a contribution to the debates in the Labour Party and across the wider labour and anti-Tory plus anti-austerity movements on the alternative we need, and as something to be, the Labour Assembly Against Austerity is calling for mobilisation and discussion around these 10 measures for a better economy and society in this vital period:

☑️  Britain needs a pay rise – National Minimum Wage raised to at least £15 an hour for all; the pay rise public sector workers are asking for; increase Statutory Sick Pay to a real living wage for all from day one.

☑️  A social security system to end poverty – reverse the Universal Credit cut and extend the uplift to legacy benefits; boost & inflation-proof benefits; for a minimum income guarantee.

☑️ Control costs – energy price freezes now at April 2022 rates, cap rents and basic food costs.

☑️ Stop the corporate rip-off – public ownership of energy, water, transport, broadband and mail to bring bills down and end fuel poverty. Lower public transport costs. Higher taxes on profits and the super-rich. Open the books – back the workers’ commission on profiteering.

☑️ Extra resources to create universal, comprehensive public services – stop cuts and privatisation; Save our NHS – for a national care service; properly fund local government.

☑️ Homes for all – no evictions or repossessions; tackle the homelessness emergency; fix the housing crisis with a mass council house building programme.

☑️ For the right to food – enshrine the right to food in law; universal free school meals all year; for a National Food Service.

☑️ Decent jobs for all – for full employment; end insecure working and ban zero-hours contracts; for the right to flexible work on workers’ not bosses’ terms.

☑️ Defend and extend our right to organise – reverse anti-trade union laws and repeal the anti-protest laws; ban fire-and-rehire; for full union rights to bargain for better pay and conditions.

☑️ End austerity for good – invest in our future with a Green New Deal – end the dependency on fossil fuels and soaring oil and gas prices; for a massive investment in renewables, green infrastructure and jobs; insulate buildings to bring bills down.

We need to mobilise now – this is the time to build movements all over the country saying that people must come before profits. It is time to put public need before corporate greed!

Featured image: Royal Mail picket, Alexander Bain House, Glasgow CWU. Photo credit: CWU twitter

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