Enough is Enough

Workers Party members, headed by Party President Cllr. Ted Tynan joined the protest organised by the ‘Cost of Living Coalition’ in Dublin at the weekend.

Several thousand people took part in the protest in support of controlling energy costs, affordable housing and investment in public services

Cllr Ted Tynan condemned the “…shameful government inaction which allows continued obscene profiteering by energy companies on the back of the young and old alike – all of whom are facing the eat or heat dilemma this winter”.

“Nationalisation of energy companies is urgently needed”, he said, “in order to restore control of these essential assets and secure the welfare of households”.

Another demonstration against rising prices, soaring energy bills and the escalating cost of living will be held in Belfast next Saturday,1st October.

Organised by the Cost of Living Coalition campaign the protest will take the form of a rally at Belfast City Hall at 1pm

Bankers’ Bonuses, Tax Breaks for the Wealthy and Token Gestures for the Rest of Us

The undisguised arrogance towards working people and the difficulties they are facing is the main feature of today’s Tory mini-budget.

Tax breaks for businesses and the wealthy, bonuses for bankers, a harsher benefit regime and derisory token gestures for working class people already struggling to heat and eat, signal the clear intent of this government – not that it was ever in any doubt.

The refusal to increase taxes on the big energy companies, and the derisory sums being offered to households to mitigate extortionate and rising bills, make this a budget for business but not for working people.

Public utilities are not luxuries – they are essential services. Gas, electric, water, fuel and broadband services must be taken into public ownership. This will help address avaricious energy prices, alleviate fuel poverty and assist in the battle against climate change. Public ownership would also ensure protection for the jobs of thousands of workers in the energy sector.

That is not a demand that we’ll hear from either the Government or the Opposition benches at Westminster – and it won’t be made by any of the Executive parties at Stormont either.

Announcements like today’s mini-budget make us think that all the Tories live in London, but we have our own home-grown free marketeers at Stormont. Beyond their rhetoric, they are all economic blood brothers. Their record tells the story: low wage economy, zero hours contracts and run-down public services.

Only a socialist economy can deliver for working people and their families.

Women and The Cost of Living Crisis

Women are being subjected to a disproportionate amount of economic, social and personal hardship as a result of the cost-of-living crisis. That’s not tub thumping,  coat trailing or left wing rhetoric. That’s what research report after research report is spelling out very clearly and very painfully.

Why is that? Well, it’s because women earn less than men on average, because they are more likely to have jobs that pay less than the living wage, because women are also more likely to bear responsibility for managing daily household costs, such as groceries and children’s items and because the majority of unpaid carers are women.

On top of all that, the problems for women in abusive relationships can be further compounded by the cost-of-living crisis and financial dependency on their abuser.

Lower pay, part time work and caring

Women in Northern Ireland earn 5.7% less than men

One fifth of women in work are paid below the real Living Wage,

Only 60% of employed women with dependent children work full time, compared to 94% of employed men with dependent children.

64% of full-time carers in Northern Ireland are women

Women face obstacles in returning to, and staying in work, after maternity leave

The cumulative effect of inflation, pay gaps, gendered roles and workplace barriers means that women are additionally disadvantaged on a number of levels.

Structural change

The collective problems can only be addressed through structural change and ultimately by the creation of a socialist economy. One-off initiatives and gesture politics are not enough.

  • Childcare remains a major obstacle for women returning to, and remaining in, work. For many parents it remains unavailable, or inflexible and unaffordable.
  • Part time employment and zero hours contracts compound the problems faced by women in the workforce. They do not resolve them.
  • The gender pay gap persists and leaves women at a further disadvantage.
  • The lack of a real living wage continues to impact disproportionately on women and young girls.

Same Old (S)Tories

The first major policy announcement of the new Truss government has, unsurprisingly, all the hallmarks of right-wing, conservative economics and a blatant disregard for the lives and difficulties being faced by working people.

Despite overwhelming support for the nationalisation of energy companies – recent polls suggest that over 70% of people are in favour – the response of the Truss administration is to bail out the companies already making billions of pounds profit through government borrowing, which tax payers will be repaying for years to come. It’s the same old Tories and the same old story.

When working people are looking for an answer to the current energy and cost of living crisis they need to look beyond the Conservatives and also beyond the Labour Party. Liz Truss won’t take energy companies into public ownership and neither will Labour’s Keir Starmer. He says he’s ‘not in favour’ of it – despite Labour’s election manifesto promises.

In the past year energy bills in the UK – where oil, gas and energy are all owned by multi-national companies- have increased by 215%. In the same period bills in France – where the government owns the gas companies and is the major shareholder in the main electricity provider – have risen by just 4%.

Taking our utilities into public ownership could, at a stroke, alleviate the human misery and suffering currently being experienced by young and old alike.

The cost of taking the ‘Big 5’ energy companies into public ownership is estimated to be around £2.8 billion. That’s a lot of money, until you realise that since June last year the government has spent £2.7billion bailing out 28 failing energy companies.

The solution to the cost of utilities crisis is not in vote catching gestures but in bringing gas, electricity, broadband services and fuel into public ownership and public control. Neither the Tories, nor Labour, are going to do that.

Party signs up to ‘Enough is Enough’ camapign

The Workers Party has formally signed up to the ‘Enough is Enough’ campaign in the fight against the cost of living

Enough is Enough was founded by trade unions and community organisations determined to push back against the misery forced on millions by rising bills, low wages, food poverty, shoddy housing – and a society run only for a wealthy elite.

The 5 key demands of the campaign are 

A Real Pay Rise……Slash Energy Bills……End Food Poverty

Decent Homes for All……Tax the Rich.

Click on the link below to find out more details about the campaign and to see how individuals can also sign up.