Thousands of people are expected to join nationwide protests against the rising cost of living today – with a planned demonstration in Manchester city centre. The People’s Assembly has organized a march and protest in Piccadilly Gardens from 1pm this afternoon (Saturday).
The outfit has also teamed up with the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers Union to protest against the loss of 800 P&O Ferries staff. Dozens of unions from across the north west are joining forces this afternoon to ‘demand meaningful action from the government’ over the rising cost of living – after many people complained Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement last week did not go far enough to help those in need.
A spokesperson for The People’s Assembly said: “The cost of living crisis is having a horrifying impact on people’s lives, with millions being driven into poverty and many into total destitution, and the Tories recent spring statement offers nothing to those who really need it. Despite gas and oil companies making record breaking profits, the Tory government will not impose any kind of wealth tax and instead burden ordinary people with 54 per cent energy bill increases.”
Demonstrations are set to take place outside Downing Street in London – with dozens more across the rest of England, Scotland and Wales. Laura Pidcock, national secretary of the People’s Assembly, who will be speaking at the Liverpool protest, said: “What people are experiencing is intolerable.
“No matter how patiently we explain that government inaction over soaring energy and fuel costs and sharply rising food prices is deepening poverty, misery and hunger, it is met with at best indifference and at worst more of the same. The truth is they are so wedded to the economic system we have, comfortable with a hands-off approach, that even when markets are obviously failing us, they continue with business as usual. We tell them about children going hungry and the government shrug, politically speaking.”
It is not possible to “completely nullify” the pressures on energy prices, a Cabinet minister meanwhile has said. But Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said the Government is “looking… across the board at what we’re doing with the public’s money”, and will “put in the support that we can, as and when we can” to ease the sting of rising prices.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Lewis said the Government cannot “completely nullify” the impacts of global pressure on energy prices, but ministers will put in supportive measures where possible.
“I know, even this week, where I live we’re on oil-fired heating, I’ve seen that change directly in the price of oil – and actually the ability to get it,” he said. “At home, my family went a few days where we had no oil, just waiting for the suppliers and seeing the very big increase in price on that.
“We can’t completely nullify the impacts of the global markets and global pressure, for example, on energy, which is obviously the main focus at the moment for most people. But we will put in the support that we can, as and when we can, as I say, looking… across the board at what we’re doing with the public’s money.”