Picket against gas price hike

1pm, Thurs 28th Apr, Queen’s House, Queen Street The Socialist Party is to hold a picket of the Utility Regulator in Belfast tomorrow (28/04/11) at 1pm, over its approval of a 39% price increase by Phoenix Gas. The Socialist Party is calling for the Assembly Executive to use its powers to overturn this price rise. Tommy Black, the Socialist Party’s East Belfast candidate, said:“The huge price rise by Phoenix Gas – approved by the Regulator – is a slap in the face for ordinary people. Fuel poverty is already endemic here. The Utility Regulator is allowing a company which has made over £20 million pre-tax profit in the last 2 years to rob ordinary people.”

“The Utility Regulator is supposedly independent. In reality, its chairman is appointed by the Minister for Finance and Personnel on behalf of the Assembly Executive, which is standing idly by. Minister Conor Murphy has over-ruled the Regulator in the past. We demand that the Assembly Executive steps in to overturn this price hike.”
 
“The price rise by Phoenix Gas is naked profiteering. It’s clear that other companies will follow suit. This shows that private ownership of the utilities cannot deliver for ordinary people. All the major utility companies should be taken into public ownership and run democratically in the interests of customers, not profit.”

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