David is 63 and relies on state benefits.
His two kids work full-time, but struggle to get by on their wages.
He’s worried about how they’re going to survive if the cost-of-living crisis worsens.
“The ordinary working man can’t afford to pay the bills,” said Dave, speaking at a cost-of-living crisis protest in Manchester city center on Saturday.
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“We are struggling and it’s only going to get worse.
“I’m worried. I’m 63 and not getting any younger.
The Manchester demonstration was one of at least 25 protests organized by the People’s Assembly in towns and cities around the UK on Saturday.
David traveled down from the North East to attend.
“My daughter is working 20 hours a week because of childminding issues, and is relying on universal credit to get by,” he said holding a placard which read ‘#Costofliving crisis We can’t pay!’
“She’s worried sick about the rising cost of energy and gas.
“She’s in for a £600 to £800 increase in energy bills. She makes sure her bills are paid, but you just can’t sustain that.”
Fellow protester Ian Dempsey, 60, from Wigan, said: “I haven’t had a pay rise this year because of the Covid situation.
“Everything is going up. If you don’t get a pay rise then it affects you financially.”
Mr Dempsey admits being ‘worried’ and expects that he will have to cut back on certain parts of his lifestyle.
“Everyone is on a budget now,” he said.
“We have watched what we are spending and if we don’t have to go out, then we won’t.
“You’ve got to cut down somewhere.”
Maggie Harding, from Northenden, was another who braved the rain to take to the streets.
“Everyone is affected,” she said. “The cost of living is going up, wages are staying the same.
“Food has gone up, clothing has gone up, the utility bills are going to be out of this world. I don’t know how I’m going to pay them.
“People are facing a real squeeze from all sides. It doesn’t have to be like that.
“I’m worried. It’s ridiculous when the energy companies are making huge profits.
“They are paying their shareholders massive dividends, and it’s us paying for that. It’s not fair.”
Protesters called for the government to reduce the burden on millions across the UK.
The rally comes in the wake of controversy surrounding the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement last week that 28 million households will get a £200 ‘rebate’ on their energy bills from October, but this will be clawed back by hiking bills by £40 per year over five years from 2023.
People are also bracing themselves for rising inflation, tax hikes and soaring energy bills, which are set to go up by £693 per year for those on default tariffs from the start of April.
Laura Pidcock, national secretary of the People’s Assembly, said there is ‘real anger’ at what she described as a ‘growing crisis’.
The former Labor MP added: “Working people could not be working harder and yet life is getting so much more difficult.
“People can see clearer than ever the inequality in our society, that while there are companies making massive profits and the richest individuals are getting so much richer, everyone else is having to suffer, making very difficult decisions to try and get by.
“Older people will be cold in their homes, people will be struggling to feed their children, when none of this is a crisis of their making.
“Meanwhile, the Government sits by and does nothing to help the people. So, we will be out on the streets saying enough is enough.”
Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, said protests are taking place because ‘people are fed up of rich men telling them that they have to pay for boardroom greed and colossal market failure’.
She said: “This crisis was not caused by working people and we are not going to take wage cuts to pay for it.
“Why should the public always bail out the markets and policy makers? Where firms can pay, they should pay and under my watch Unite will unashamedly continue to protect the living standards of its members.”
Fran Heathcote, president of the Public and Commercial Services union, said: “Low-paid workers cannot and will not pay for the Government’s problems.
“The hike in heating bills, fuel, transport costs and national insurance contributions, at the same time as pay is held down and pensions are being attacked, leaves most workers with a real cost of living crisis.”