Branch Secretary : info@housingworkers.org.uk
  

Climate Change ...

... And The Energy Price Rip Off!

 

The recent announcement by energy regulators Ofgen that they are increasing the price cap below which energy companies are allowed to charge by £139 from this October is a devastating blow.

 

Coming on top of an earlier increase to the cap in April of £96 it will force many poorer families and individuals to choose between heating their homes and eating this winter.

 

'Big Six' Hit £1bn Profit


The reason for the increase is ostensibly soaring prices of gas globally, driven by a number of factors affecting supply chains. However, the big six gas companies in the UK made over £1bn profit between them in 2019  - they could well afford to take the hit. 

 

 

Many of the worst affected will be inevitably tenants of social housing providers, including many employers of our members. They include many disabled and other disadvantaged adults, who are paying rent to landlords from meagre incomes and also have to fork out to utility companies.

 

Wholesale Change Needed

 

The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests we are on the brink of global disaster, a situation brought about by our society’s continued dependence on fossil fuels to heat our homes. This makes ordinary people dependent on supplies of fossil fuels that can be disrupted, including by changes to the climate, causing prices to soar as big companies seek to protect their huge profit margins.

 

 

Wholesale social change is needed to avert disaster and create a fairer world and this will mean both transforming energy supplies and also housing. Crucial to this will be a national programme to retrofit all social housing, including replacement of fossil fuel heating systems with alternatives and no loss of jobs as a result, and massive investment in insulating social housing, replacing cheap flammable insulation with environmentally friendly alternatives.

 

The Trade Union Task

 

The trade union movement has huge potential to play in fighting for these at every level of society. However this will only be realised if ordinary members in branches such as ours are able to push for a change of course.

 

Unions must take seriously the fundamental changes we need, working arm in arm with other civil society and campaign groups which share our aim of averting disaster and ensuring everyone can afford to heat their homes. 

 

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