Cost of living crisis protest in Birmingham city centre this weekend - here’s where and when it will be
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Organisers and supporters, which include political campaigning groups and trade unions, say workers should not be having to put up with spiralling bills and ministers need to look at policies to tackle the crisis.
Here’s what you need to know about where the protest will be taking place and why.
Where is the cost of living crisis protest in Birmingham taking place?
Demonstrators are being asked to gather at the Waterstones on Birmngham city centre High Street by the Bullring 12pm noon on Saturday (12 February).
It could be a noisy meeting, with organisers encouraging demonstrators to bring friends, workmates, placards, banners and noise!
It is being called and supported by COP26 Coalition; People Before Profit West Midlands; Birmingham Trades Union Council; Walsall Trades Union Council; Save Our Schools West Midlands; Stand Up To Racism Birmingham; Birmingham Stop the War Coalition; Birmingham National Education Union.
Why is the event being held?
Birmingham protesters say: “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. Energy bills are about to surge, and in April we face an increase to National Insurance at the same time as the further hike in fuel bills. The government has failed.”
Organisers of the protest are calling for a range of measures to tackle the problems, including capping energy bills, insulating homes, investing in renewable energy sources, bringing in a windfall tax on oil and gas company profits, nationalising big energy firms, restoring more generous pensions and benefits and increasing the minimum wage.
Similar protests are being held in cities across the UK this weekend.
What has been said about the protest?
Prominent supporters of this weekend’s demonstrations include leading trade union Unite.
Its general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Why should workers pay for the energy crisis and why should they pay for shambolic Government policies?
“Demonstrations are springing up because people are fed up of rich men telling them that they have to pay for boardroom greed and colossal market failure.
“There are workers up and down the UK fighting for fair pay so they can afford to put food on the table and heat their homes. They have Unite’s unwavering support.”
Last week Unite blasted Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey for calling for pay restraint, saying his comments amounted to appealing for “a national pay cut”.
What has the Government said?
The Government has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks to take action on the cost of living.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced an energy bills rebate, consisting of £200 which will then be recovered in £40 installments once gas prices have gone down, and a further £150 assistance for households in council tax bands A to D.
Discretionary funding of £144 million will also be provided to vulnerable people or individuals on low incomes who do not pay council tax, or live in properties in bands E to H.
However, the plans have been widely criticised as not ambitious enough, with the Labour Party suggesting a windfall tax on oil and gas company profits.
Regulator Ofgem has admitted that on average household energy bills will rise by some £700 in April.
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