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Scott Begbie: ‘Perfect storm’ of economic crises is a manmade catastrophe courtesy of Westminster

Many UK residents are concerned about how they will keep themselves warm as the cost of energy increases drastically (Photo: macondo/Shutterstock)
Many UK residents are concerned about how they will keep themselves warm as the cost of energy increases drastically (Photo: macondo/Shutterstock)

Soaring energy bills, food costs going through the roof, inflation at its highest in 30 years, petrol prices skyrocketing, tax hikes on the way…

It’s tempting to say there is a perfect storm of economic crises about to knock us all sideways. Tempting, but wrong.

You see, a storm is a natural thing; an unstoppable force we mere mortals can do nothing about. But the catastrophe about to engulf us in the coming months is entirely manmade and, as such, could have been entirely avoidable.

The climbing cost of fuel and electricity means our energy bills will be going up by an average of £693 a year from April. How does that square with the UK Big Six energy firms hauling in more than £3 billion in profit a year between then?

How can the vulnerable be facing a stark choice between heating and eating – to the extent of dire warnings some may even perish – while these providers are racking up the better part of £6,000 in profit every minute?

No wonder there are calls for a windfall tax on the energy companies to help ease that stinging pain for ordinary folk. But said calls are falling on deaf ears in the corridor of powers at Westminster. Instead, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is saying we can get £200 towards our energy bills this autumn – but only as a loan to be paid back.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced loans of £200 to help with soaring energy bills, but suppliers say these would only cover around a third of the expected cost increase (Photo: Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Wire/Shutterstock)

Seriously, that’s the best we can hope for as the smart meters whizz round so fast they become black holes into which our disposable income disappears?

“Just the way it is, nothing we can do,” seems to be the Westminster mantra, while it merrily increases the price cap on energy bills.

Westminster is doing nothing to soften the blow

Meanwhile, in Europe, France is limiting electricity price increases to 4% and Norway (our neighbours with control over their own oil) are subsiding household leccie bills.

It is ordinary folk – many of them looking into a financial abyss – who are being told they must pay the cost

All over the EU, governments are moving to protect ordinary people. Here in the UK, the Westminster government is happy to protect profits for global conglomerates.

Even the simplest of measures to soften the blow – delaying the increase in National Insurance – simply “cannot be done”, according to the Tories in power.

Governments across the rest of Europe are ensuring the public do not have to pay excessive amounts for more expensive energy (Photo: Alex Yeung/Shutterstock)

Unsaid in all of this is, of course, the barking act of national self-harm that was Brexit, hobbling our economy and helping to push prices up while cawing the legs from under businesses.

Covid didn’t help. But, then, neither did Westminster’s wilfully reckless waste of our taxes. Cronies got contracts, we got stuck with a bill for £8.7 billion of unusable PPE kit bought at inflated prices.

Yet it is ordinary folk – many of them looking into a financial abyss – who are being told they must pay the cost while the uncaring, untouchable higher echelons of the Conservative elite are too busy jockeying for the keys of Number 10.

Scotland is not powerless

And, if you think sweeping away the web of sleaze in Downing Street changes anything, think again. You can clear the cobwebs, but the spiders will still be there.

The ray of hope for everyone in Scotland is that a different way of organising ourselves and our country is on offer

If you haven’t figured it out yet, let’s make it clear. The party in power at Westminster doesn’t care about you. Full stop.

We are not powerless. The ray of hope for everyone in Scotland is that a different way of organising ourselves and our country is on offer. A way to steer ourselves out of the perfect storm created by an entrenched elite that cares only for their own.

The next time we have the chance to get on that ship, don’t let it sail without us.


Scott Begbie is entertainment editor for The Press & Journal and Evening Express

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