Advertisement
Social Justice

Campaigners call for a million people to cancel their energy bills if government refuses to act

More than 800 people have already signed up to organise the mass non-payment of energy bills

Campaigners are calling for a million people across the UK to stop paying their energy bills in October if the government “goes ahead with another massive hike”.

Don’t Pay is a drive to push the government and energy companies to make bills more affordable as people struggle through a cost of living crisis.

More than 800 people have already signed up to help organise the mass non-payment in just a few days. The hope is that this group will inspire a million people to join them in cancelling their bills on October 1.

A spokesperson for Don’t Pay, who has asked to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, said: “Millions of us won’t be able to afford food and bills this winter. We cannot afford to let that happen. We’re all worried about what this will mean for us and our families but, if we come together through collective action, we can force the government and energy companies to reduce our energy bills.” 

An estimated 3.16 million people in the UK could not afford to pay their household energy bills in 2020, the most recent year for which statistics are available. 

Prices for electricity, gas and fuels rose by over 46 per cent in April 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics, when the energy regulator Ofgem increased the energy price cap. 

Advertisement
Advertisement

Costs continue to rise, with 85 per cent of adults reporting an increase in their gas and electricity bills last month and another increase energy price cap increase expected in October.

As energy bills continue to rise at worrying rates, many more families will be left unable to cook a meal, have a hot shower or heat their homes in the winter. 

Subscribe to The Big Issue

Support us

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work.

Organisers of Don’t Pay say they are local people who want to remain anonymous in media coverage. They have no official affiliation with any organisations or charities. 

They are hoping that this decentralised, grassroots approach will urge huge numbers of people to take collective action. They believe that hundreds, if not thousands, of people are beginning to take action in their local communities.

The campaigners say on their website that they are “demanding a reduction of energy bills to an affordable level”. For this to work, they claim they need one million people to pledge to cancel their bills. The strike will not go ahead unless they have this “critical mass of people”. 

“Even if a fraction of those of us who are paying on credit metres withhold our payments,” they claim, “it will be enough to put energy companies in serious trouble, and they know this. We want to bring them to the table and force them to end this crisis.”

Break the cycle of poverty for good
Big Futures is calling on the Government to put in place a plan and policies to break this cycle of poverty for good. We are calling for long-term solutions to meet the biggest issues faced in the UK today – the housing crisis, low wages and the climate crisis. Dealing with these issues will help the UK to protect the environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing of future generations. So that young people and future generations have a fair shot at life. Join us and demand a better future.

Don’t Pay are using social media to attract attention and build support. You can sign up to their emailing list for more information, or sign up to be an organiser on their website. 

The organisers said they already span across more than 300 different towns and cities in the UK. More than 50,000 leaflets have been ordered to another 52 locations. 

The organisers add on their website: “It can only work if we believe in each other and show the powers at be that we would not stand for being treated as cash cows.”

Advertisement

Every copy counts this Christmas

Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Christmas. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Christmas.

Recommended for you

Read All
What is a warm bank and why are they needed this winter?
Cost of living crisis

What is a warm bank and why are they needed this winter?

What is fuel poverty? The causes, statistics and solutions in the UK
Cost of living crisis

What is fuel poverty? The causes, statistics and solutions in the UK

Don't Pay UK: Why are people cancelling their energy bills?
Energy bills

Don't Pay UK: Why are people cancelling their energy bills?

Four in five of the children’s homes in England are run for profit – here’s why that is a problem
Child poverty

Four in five of the children’s homes in England are run for profit – here’s why that is a problem

Most Popular

Read All
Here's when and where nurses are going on strike
1.

Here's when and where nurses are going on strike

Pattie Boyd: 'I was with The Beatles and everything was fabulous'
2.

Pattie Boyd: 'I was with The Beatles and everything was fabulous'

Here's when people will get the additional cost of living payment
3.

Here's when people will get the additional cost of living payment

Why do people hate Matt Hancock? Oh, let us count the ways
4.

Why do people hate Matt Hancock? Oh, let us count the ways