People protesting against the cost of living crisis in London. Image: Flickr/ Garry Knight
Leading public figures and organisations including trade unionist Mick Lynch and Labour MP Zarah Sultana have launched a national campaign to fight the cost of living crisis under the banner “enough is enough.”
The campaign has five demands: slash energy bill prices, a pay rise for all, an end to fuel poverty, housing reform and taxes on the rich.
A video introducing the campaign was fronted by Labour MP Zarah Sultana, CWU general secretary Dave Ward, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch, RMT assistant general secretary Eddie Dempsey and workers from across a range of industries.
Lynch said: “For 30 years, living standards have been falling in this country. We’ve seen our council housing sold off, our education system commodified, our NHS privatised, work terms and conditions torn up, wages put back and pensions robbed.
“It doesn’t have to be like this. Things could be so much better for working class people across this country. We need everybody out together, campaigning for a better deal. It’s time to say enough is enough.”
The campaign is also supported by Liverpool West Derby MP Ian Byrne, and community organisations such as Acorn and Fans Supporting Foodbanks.
Enough is Enough is demanding “significant rise in the national minimum wage and a path to £15 an hour, a real public sector pay rise, and an inflation busting-rise in pensions and benefits”. It also wants the same increase in pensions and benefits to ensure those who need support aren’t left behind.
The energy price cap is expected to soar to nearly £4,000 this winter amid the cost of living crisis. As an immediate measure, the campaigners want the October price hike cancelled and the pre-April price cap restored. This is significantly lower, at £1,277 per year.
They want a Right to Food law, introducing universal free school meals, community kitchens and a reinstatement of the £20-a-week universal credit uplift. They also want rent caps and a government commitment to build more than 100,000 public and council houses a year to ensure decent homes for all.
Their fifth and final demand is that the government “make the rich pay their fair share by raising taxes on the wealthiest and the profits of big businesses”. They are demanding the government introduces a wealth tax, raise taxes on corporate profits, close “tax dodging loopholes”, and abolish non-dom status.
Sultana said: “For a real pay rise, to slash energy bills, to end fuel poverty, for decent homes for all, and to finally tax the rich and big business – this is what Enough Is Enough stands for. It’s all about one political choice – your need or their greed. It’s time to channel anger into action.”
She added in a tweet: “You make the sacrifices, they reap the rewards. We say enough is enough.”
According to Enough is Enough, there are already over 50 branches in villages, towns and cities across the UK. They claim the number is likely to at least double in its first seven days.
In the coming weeks, Enough Is Enough will hold rallies across the country. Branches will be organising to assist striking workers by encouraging the public to support picket lines and back workers’ strike funds.
Ward added: “We think it’s time someone else paid the price. Workers always make the sacrifices, yet the CEOs always reap the rewards. Fair pay, affordable bills, enough to eat and a decent place to live – these things aren’t luxuries, they’re your rights. Join Enough Is Enough and remind the powerful that this is the case.”
Fans Supporting Foodbanks organiser Dave Kelly said: “After a decade of austerity and with the cost-of-living crisis biting ever deeper, working-class communities face the worst humanitarian crisis in our lifetime.With record levels of fuel and utility charges – and food prices rocketing – we know that Britain isn’t eating.The time is now to stand as one.”
Dempsey added: “It’s time everyone in this country who’s got a rotten landlord, on a low wage, in work and on benefits, going to a foodbank, who can’t get a doctor’s appointment, who can’t get housing – it’s time they said enough is enough.
“We’ve never all been in this together, but the people who are in this together are working class people who have been mugged for far too long. It’s time we stood up for ourselves and did something about it.”
Acorn head organiser Nick Ballard said: “Our communities deserve safe, secure and affordable housing, they deserve well-paid jobs and they deserve well-resourced cities and towns. Our communities deserve better, enough is enough.”