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From: The Socialist issue 787, 6 November 2013: Nationalise the energy companies

Search site for keywords: Energy - Nationalise - MPs - Nationalisation - Poverty

MPs' bills paid - we struggle to heat our homes

Nationalise the energy companies

Gail Morrow, Secretary, Scottish Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation

We're being ripped off. The profiteering big six energy companies are taking us all for a ride, hiking their prices, jacking up profits, avoiding taxes, and leaving the majority of us in abject misery.

And now it's been revealed that 340 MPs have claimed public money to pay for the costs of heating their second homes.

Over 200,000 has been handed to these establishment politicians, many of whom are voting through savage cuts to the wages and benefits of the rest of us.

These include the Tory MPs who tell those of us struggling to heat our homes that we should 'wear a jumper'. The elderly have also been given the 'advice' to heat only one room in their house.

A new TUC report shows an increase of 152% in fuel bills over the past ten years, four times the increase in the rate of inflation. Millions are suffering from 'fuel poverty'.

We need energy to live. It should work for us so that the people benefit, not a select few who are removing profit with absolutely no regard for the hardship they are causing to customers.

The solution to the greed and insensitivity of these big businesses is to remove the industry from them and place it under democratic public ownership.

The energy bosses blame the government's 'green taxes' as one of the reasons for these increases but none of these big six companies will be seeing a dip in the profits they make. Opening the books to public scrutiny would reveal the truth.

Profits and bonuses

Profits at the big six energy companies have shot up 74% since 2009. They increased from 2.15 billion in 2009 to 3.74 billion in 2012.

Centrica boss Sam Laidlaw admits that public trust in the energy companies is at an "all-time low" and so he'll be waiving his 1.7 million 'bonus' this year.

But that will still leave him with 950,000 basic pay plus shares. And he'll probably scrape by on last year's 5 million remuneration package!

Labour has said it will freeze prices for 18 months, but you can't control what you don't own. Running the energy industry under the current capitalist system has been a monumental failure for the people.

What we need is nationalisation of the energy industry. This would allow the slashing of prices and massive investment in safer, environmentally friendly alternatives.

The bosses that have financially crippled their customers need to be removed and replaced with a democratically elected and accountable board including workers in the industry and consumers, who can ensure energy production is for the needs of the people rather than for private profit.

People forced to choose between heating their homes and buying food is Dickensian and must be stopped.

Democratic nationalisation is the way to bring this to an end along with a new mass workers' party, fighting for socialism and representing the true needs of people, to take us forward to a fair and just society.

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Article dated 6 November 2013

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