Thank you to members of the Brixton Rush Common branch of Streatham Labour, who organised an informative community meeting to discuss what we can do to address escalating living costs, with speakers from our trade union movement. We need to stop calling this a “cost of living crisis”, as if it’s fallen from the sky. Thirteen years of the Tories has left people less resilient than ever. It has meant thirteen years of falling pay, soaring rents, rising bills and declining public services.
We need a Labour Government that will take immediate action to shift these burdens away from those at the bottom and onto all those who got richer since the Tories took power. Capping rents, boosting pay for low earners, scrapping tax loopholes for the rich and levying proper windfall tax on oil and gas companies are all good steps forwards. But perhaps more fundamental than this is ensuring Labour makes good on our longstanding promise to repeal the trade union laws, giving workers the leverage to demand these things. We also need to think about long-term resilience and building shock absorbers into our systems to protect people from the kind of acute financial pressures we’re currently seeing. That means transitioning away from fossil fuels which are subject to volatile market prices and towards clean energy. It also means pushing for public ownership of key utilities like energy, water, rail, and mail to ensure money is ploughed back into our essential services rather than drained out by shareholders.