Glasgow council could demand nationalisation of energy firms and rise in minimum wage

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Glasgow council could demand a range of changes to help people during the cost of living crisis.

Energy bills, food prices and taxes have soared in 2022, with the situation set to get worse in October when Ofgem lifts the energy cap by 80% - meaning people will have to pay hundreds of pounds more to heat their homes over winter.

In response, Green councillor, Bailie Elaine Gallagher, has put forward a motion for Glasgow City Council’s full meeting on Thursday, slamming the UK Government for its handling of the crisis and demanding more help for people.

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Councillors will vote at the meeting on whether to accept the motion.

The cost of energy has been rising.The cost of energy has been rising.
The cost of energy has been rising. | Proxima Studio - stock.adobe.com

What changes does it demand?

Cllr Gallagher’s motion calls for some major changes to help people through the cost of living crisis.

If the motion is approved, the leader of Glasgow City Council, Cllr Susan Aitken, will write to the UK Government demanding the following changes:

- nationalising the ‘big 5’ energy firms

- Reversing the energy price cap rises, taking prices back to October 2021 levels

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- Bringing back the £20 Universal Credit uplift from the pandemic, and then doubling it, with corresponding increases for legacy benefits

- Raising the national minimum wage to a level that meets the Real Living Wage for all, accounting for inflation

- Taxing corporations making unjust profits from this crisis with a real windfall tax that avoids the exemptions and loopholes of Rishi Sunak’s energy profits levy

- Increasing and inflation-proofing Scotland’s block grant from Westminster, to allow for fair pay increases for workers

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Local changes

The motion does not just call on the UK Government to make changes; it also calls for COSLA (the body representing all local authorities in Scotland) and the Scottish Government to find an acceptable pay offer for council workers

It also calls for the chief executive of the council to launch a ‘warm bank’ in Glasgow.

Glasgow City Chambers - home of Glasgow City Council.Glasgow City Chambers - home of Glasgow City Council.
Glasgow City Chambers - home of Glasgow City Council. | JC

This will include a network of buildings where people can keep warm - which could includes council buildings, community venues and religious venues.

The ‘warm bank’ would include information about other forms of support, with representatives from other organisations there to give advice and help.

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What does the motion state?

"Council recognises that the Cost of Living Crisis is a crisis of poverty borne by those people least able to afford rising fuel and energy tariffs, rents and food prices. The Council condemns the UK government's reduction of tariff controls for energy prices, Ofgem's exorbitant increase to the energy price cap, and the opportunism of energy companies in taking advantage to increase charges across the board, including standing charges.

“Council views this opportunism as unfair and considers that the rising prices are already harming those people with the lowest incomes, on whom the burden is falling most heavily in proportion to their means. Council further believes that the energy network should be owned by and operated for the people rather than as an exercise in free-market extortion.

“Council further condemns the increases in high street prices for basic foods and is concerned by a lack of transparency in international commodity markets and generation of excess profits by large corporations in the food and grocery sector.

“Council considers the current increase in inflation to be driven by this profiteering, and calls on the UK government to enact or restore price controls on energy and on basic goods. Council condemns the move by the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee to limit inflation by increasing interest rates, which is projected to put the UK into a recession which the general public cannot afford.

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“Council acknowledges that wages must rise to meet increasing inflation, supports the growing trade union demands for fair pay negotiations, believes that any pay settlement under the rate of inflation will result in a real terms reduction in spending power and living standards, and agrees that pay settlements which ensure the lowest paid workers receive proportionally higher pay increases is a desirable outcome. Council further pledges to support workers forced into industrial action by not outsourcing their jobs and using the Council's standing in COSLA to lobby for the demands of workers; as well as those of people impoverished by unfair price and tariff increases; and calls on the Scottish Government and the UK Government to do likewise until adequate price controls are implemented.”

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