For too many families in Rochdale, for too many households up and down this country, the cost of living crisis is the number one priority. It’s a brutal fact that use of Foodbanks has shot up as people juggle budgets to make ends meet.
Meanwhile energy companies are making record profits here in the UK. BP alone saw its profits triple . The Chief Executive, paid well over £4 million a year, described the company as a cash machine. Likely winner of the Tory ballot, Liz Truss, tells us that profit is not a dirty word.
Many of us feel that making rip-off profits at a time of national crisis is just obscene. Our government continues to offer tax breaks to the energy companies and ordinary families suffer. Labour has long been proposing a windfall tax on the energy companies windfall profits and if the next Tory Prime Minister wants to take up this idea, I’ll applaud. Keir Starmer has demanded that the energy price cap, due to go up this Autumn, should be frozen. Even the energy companies are in agreement with this.
Again, if the next Prime Minister wants to take this up, I’ll applaud. It’s obvious to everyone that something has got to be done to take away the pressure of rising prices and it’s equally obvious that Liz Truss’s idea of tax cuts is simply not the way to do it. We need bold action and that means treating the cost of living crisis as seriously as we did during Covid. In the longer run we’ve got to ask the question as to why we are so dependent on global oil and as price hikes. We’re an island with abundant coastal waters for off-shore wind turbines and even cloudy Britain can benefit from solar power. And big gains can be made, house b house, family by family, if we have an emergency investment programme in home and building insulation.
The truth is we’ve known this for years but have seen too little action from this government. Keeping the lights on and our homes heated is such an obvious thing for government to guarantee that I’m bound to ask why this government has been asleep at the wheel.
This isn’t party political banter, this is about the duty any government owes to our people. This government has let us down.
This article was originally published in the Rochdale Observer on 27 August 2022.