With the cost-of-living crisis set to cause ever deeper misery this winter across the UK, millions more people are desperately worried they won’t be able to find the money to meet even the most basic needs of existence.
Add a zombie government more interested in which of two challengers for PM can spout the most offensive gibberish blaming the vulnerable for their own plight, and which of their friends and donors’ pockets they can fill next, and we seem to be heading towards a perfect Dickensian storm.
Labour councillors in our City have been listening to residents– pensioners, families, and young single people, who, for the first time in their lives are very worried about how they’ll get through the winter. This is a national economic emergency, but the Conservative government is putting the profits of oil and gas giants before people, as it has done with many basic services
In the face of their unwillingness to take action to help, and tolerance of the continued – obscene – profiteering of directors and shareholders in our privatised public services, the Brighton and Hove Labour Group welcome the national Labour’s £29bn proposal to help millions of hard-pressed households with energy bills typically saving households £1,000 this winter and paid for by taxing profits of oil and gas companies who are making bumper profits of nearly £50bn, but recognise the Tories are unlikely to action it.
Labour would also make sure bills come down in the long term too by investing in more sustainable, British energy sources, meaning that we don’t have to rely on expensive fossil fuels. Labour’s Warm Homes Plan will also insulate millions more homes to reduce the amount of energy we use and save more money.
Although this is not a crisis of the council’s making and national action is vital. Labour Councillors know we need to do all we can locally to support residents though this crisis. In 2020 the Labour-run council worked effectively with other services such as our NHS and voluntary and community organisations to coordinate a well-planned response amongst our community during the height of the pandemic and we need to do the same now, which is why the Labour Group on the City Council have written to the Green Leader of The Council – Cllr MacCafferty – calling for the Council to get organised and to do all it can to ensure no one in our city suffers hypothermia or goes hungry this winter.
For example, can we use our public spaces as ‘warm zones’ for people who literally daren’t put the heating on at home? Can we ensure that benefit take-up (particularly claims leading to extra help, like child and pension credits) is as high as possible? Can we help address the housing crisis contributing to the cost-of-living crisis by pushing forward with Labour initiatives like landlord licensing and a principal homes policy? How can we support local small and independent businesses to help them weather the coming recession?
If government won’t help, councillors must step up and do whatever we can to help our residents.