Manchester to protest a rise in household energy bills and rise in national insurance increases

  • A ‘cost of living crisis’ demonstration is being organised by Manchester Trades Council and Manchester People’s Assembly will protest an increase in household energy bills
  • OFgem will announce the cost rise on 3 February to come into effect in April
  • Protest will take place on 12 February starting from Piccadilly Gardens

A demonstration “demanding action to tackle the cost of living crisis” has been organised in response to the planned rise in household energy bills.

Protesters are demanding a cap of energy bills, an increase in minimum wage, and higher taxation of the rich instead of a raise in national insurance, in an effort to tackle the cost of living crisis.

The demonstration is organised by Manchester Trades Council and Manchester People’s Assembly, and takes place on 12 February in Piccadilly Gardens from 1pm until 4pm.

OFGEM, Great Britain’s independent energy regulator, works to ‘protect energy consumers, especially vulnerable people, by ensuring they are treated fairly and benefit from a cleaner, greener environment.’

An energy price cap, which will come into effect from 1st April 2022, was announced today.

The protest will be led by the PCS samba band, and march from the Wellington Statute in Piccadilly Gardens, passing Central library and crossing the River Irwell to the business, energy and industrial strategy office.

Protest march route around Manchester
The demonstration march route takes protesters around Manchester and back to Piccadilly Gardens

Protesters will then march back down Market Street to reconvene in Piccadilly Gardens.

Ian Allinson of Manchester Trades Council said: “A lot of people are going to struggle. We’ve got a lot of people already struggling in Manchester with the cost of living crisis.

“People just aren’t going to be able to make ends meet. People are going to be in the cold, people are going to be going short on food and, you know, it’s just disgraceful that one of the richest countries in the world should have people in that position.

“If people see that there’s a big number of people out on the streets, protesting over the cost of living crisis, it gives those people more confidence that they’re not alone.

“If they stand and fight, actually millions of people are facing the same pressures and we back each other up. And if we back each other up we can win.”

Karen Buckley of Manchester People’s Assembly highlighted that some low-income households will soon have to make the choice between eating and heating their homes.

She said: “It’s going really put people now into severe poverty which actually can be very dangerous for people. It’s really going to affect people’s lives in so many different ways, which will often come out in kind of mental health crisis or real stress on families.

“We feel that when people come together collectively, we’ve got more strength and power and we’ve got more of a voice.

“I think [protesting] does show the government that we’re not going to put up with this and we’re going to get increasingly organised in our unions and our campaigns and come together to really put pressure on the government that this has got to stop, we need change.

In an open letter, Manchester TUC and Manchester People’s Assembly state: “We are facing a cost of living crisis.

“Inflation has already reached 7.5% (RPI, or 5.4% CPI). Wages are not keeping up. The triple lock for pensions has been broken and universal credit cut.

“In April we face an increase to national insurance at the same time as a further hike in fuel bills.”

Supporting organisations include Unite north west, the Greater Manchester COP26 Coalition, and XR Manchester.