Thousands protest in Glasgow over rising cost of living

Thousands of protesters have gathered on the Buchanan Galleries steps in Glasgow as energy prices reached a new record high.

Activists from the Enough Is Enough campaign joined striking unions in the city on Saturday afternoon.

The campaign began in response to the rising cost of living, with the Glasgow protest part of a national day of action tied in to the October 1 increase in the energy price cap.

The rally was addressed by trade unionists and politicians with chants of “Tories, Tories, Tories! Out, out, out!” and “the workers, united, will never be defeated”.

Chris Mitchell from the GMB union, who became well known in the city for his rousing speeches during the Glasgow bin workers strike during Cop26 in November 2021, told the protesters: “You should be proud of yourselves today.

“The working class are alive and kicking!”

The protest comes as average energy bills surged by 56% on October 1 with Ofgem setting the amount that a household pays for each kilowatt hour of electricity it uses at 34p, up from 28p.

Gas prices have gone up from 7p to 10p per kilowatt hour under the latest price cap guarantee, with standing charges for both forms of energy also increasing.

It means that the typical household in the UK will spend around £2,500 on its energy bills – but anyone with higher usage will pay more.

The typical household, which contains 2.4 people, uses 2,900 units of electricity and 12,000 of gas according to Ofgem’s calculations.

The watchdog sets a price cap every three months based on international wholesale prices, but the Government stepped in earlier this year to limit this to £2,500 a year for the next two years in an effort to curb inflation.

Jess Galloway from Power To The People Glasgow said she has never been involved in a campaign that has grown so quickly.

“I think the reason we have grown so quickly is because we are offering such a simple solution,” she added.

“Councils were not even thinking about a strategy on how they could keep people warm this winter let alone thinking about warm banks until we put it on the agenda.

“We’ve been at this a couple of months and they are seeing they are weak in the face of an organised working class.

“No one in this country should be punished if they cannot pay for their bills.”

Ms Galloway was joined by Paisley-based charity The Star Project who said one of the people they had worked with had died of starvation.

Chief executive Sharon Graham said: “People are absolutely terrified. This isn’t going away.

“It’s very clear to us that policies have done nothing but damage the livelihoods of our community.

“We work with thousands of people every year with food, debt, mental health and that is escalating hugely. It looks like nobody cares.”

Heather Kay, a project manager at the charity said they are helping people with gas and electricity costs.

She said: “People are losing control all over again, just like the pandemic,” adding: “We’ve already had a death of starvation in the community.”