Thousands joined in protest on Saturday to demand government action on the spiralling cost-of-living crisis.
25 protests, organised by The People’s Assembly, took place in cities across the UK from London to Glasgow, Birmingham to Bournemouth.
Guest speakers, including former Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, addressed the crowd in London outside the gates of Downing Street. Several protestors chanted ‘shame’ as the independent MP, Mr Corbyn, expressed that “fuel poverty means death”.
The crisis will create an “impossible choice for many”, said The People’s Assembly; to heat or eat. One protestor, Julie Wallace, a food bank co-ordinator, said they were already seeing the impact on their beneficiaries.
“People are being more selective with what food they can take because they don’t know if they can afford to cook it”.
Another protester, Mary Williams said “after COVID, I unfortunately lost my job but I’ve still got to put food on the table for my three kids. I don’t understand how the government can put us in this position.”
The protests come after sharp rises in council tax, national insurance and energy bills as well as hikes in the prices of food, broadband and petrol. Several factors caused the spike in bills such as disruptions from the pandemic, as well as the impact of the war in Ukraine.
UK chancellor, Rishi Sunak has unveiled several strategies including a £200 loan towards energy bills, a one-year 5p cut in fuel duty and a £6 billion national insurance cut from July.
However, a financial advisor for CBW Accountancy firm, who preferred to remain anonymous, said the government strategies “will favour only the middle classes and do little to offer short-term help”.
A study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that ‘the Chancellor’s inaction’ in refusing to substantially increase benefits will force 600,000 people, a quarter of which are children, into poverty.