Cost of living protest to be held in Glasgow as Scottish low-income families face higher bills

A protest against the rising cost of living is set to take place in Glasgow as experts warned the poorest families are to be hit by higher energy rises than their wealthier counterparts.

A demonstration is being planned for February 12 in George Square, as part of a string of simultaneous protests held around the UK.

It comes after Ofgem announced a 54 per cent rise in the energy price cap, taking the price of an annual default tariff of £1,971 – up from £1,277.

Analysis of the announcement by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) found the poorest 10 per cent of families will see energy costs increase by £724, a 7.5 times larger rise than the richest 10 per cent of families.

Families will face rocketing bills.

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Meanwhile, real wages are set to fall by £50 a month on average this year, according to new TUC analysis of Bank of England figures.

Inflation recently reached 5.4 per cent under the CPI measure and workers face an increase to National Insurance in April. The Bank of England has also raised the base rate from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent, potentially pushing mortgage rates higher for home owners.

Union Unite said it backed the protests, organised by the People’s Assembly, adding that it believed the UK Government would use the cost-of-living crisis to “justify cuts to public services”.

The union said: “With the resignation of five of [Boris] Johnson’s closest advisers announced, and talk of further splits at the top of government, never has the time been right to protest. There is a cost-of-living crisis and, as we will show on February 12, we won’t pay."

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Alfie Stirling, chief economist at the New Economics Foundation, said: “The announcement from Ofgem reveals what many have feared for several weeks – the energy price rise means that millions of low- and middle-income households, pensioners and families with kids will be impacted far worse than others."

The comments came as Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey urged workers not to ask for big pay rises, to try to stop prices rising out of control. Mr Bailey was paid £575,538, including pension, in his first year as the Bank’s governor.

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Paddy Lillis, general secretary of union Usdaw, said: “Many low-paid key workers, who kept the country going through the pandemic, are already struggling to make ends meet and now find themselves in a cost-of-living crisis. With food and fuel prices rising, energy bills soaring and real wages falling, our members cannot afford the pay restraint called for by the Bank of England Governor.

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“Workers should not be asked to pay for a cost-of-living crisis caused by the Government. We need clear action from Government to tackle rising energy costs, increased taxes, along with the negative impacts on the economy of Brexit and Covid-19, which are all key drivers of inflation.”

TUC head of economics Kate Bell said: “Hard work should pay for everyone, but real wages are set to plummet again. Calls for pay restraint are ill-founded and will make the squeeze on family budgets even tighter. As the Chancellor said yesterday, energy prices are pushing up inflation, not wage demands.

“Britain needs a pay rise, not another decade of lost pay and living standards.”

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