Main image: © Suzanne Plunkett / Greenpeace
Activists from Greenpeace and Fuel Poverty Action entered the Palace of Westminster as tourists and visitors earlier today (24 October). They are now occupying the Central Lobby, linking arms and reading testimonies from people struggling with their bills from all over the UK, and have unfurled a banner reading ‘Chaos costs lives’.
The activists, endorsed by Disabled People Against Cuts, are demanding that the next prime minister start putting the welfare of the British people before fossil fuel companies by properly taxing oil and gas profits and launching a nationwide home insulation programme to tackle fuel poverty.
Fuel Poverty Action and Disabled People Against Cuts are also calling for Energy For All – a universal, free band of energy to cover the basics like keeping warm and keeping the lights on.
‘Stop the circus and act’
As chancellor, Rishi Sunak successfully torpedoed proposals for expanding home insulation after overseeing the debacle of the Green Homes Grant scheme, the scrapping of which left homeowners disappointed and businesses out of pocket.
He also reluctantly and belatedly brought in a weak windfall tax on oil and gas profits, which contained loopholes that allow fossil fuel giants to discount 80% of their investment in oil and gas from their windfall tax bill.
‘Chaos costs lives. Since Boris Johnson resigned as prime minister, this government has spent more time looking for a new leader than leading the country. We now need a government capable of confronting crises, not creating them.
‘Almost a quarter of the country is suffering fuel poverty thanks to ridiculous gas prices and the oldest, coldest housing in Europe. Winter is coming and lives will be lost if the government keeps failing to solve the problem.
‘Rishi Sunak should have realised by now the huge mistake he made by blocking plans for warmer homes and failing to properly tax fossil fuel giants. People need permanently lower bills and a safe climate, and that means more renewable energy, more financial support, a nationwide street-by-street insulation programme and a proper tax on the energy profiteers to pay for it. We’re here carrying voices from across the country to make the politicians listen to the people, stop the circus and act, before it’s too late.’
Greenpeace UK’s co-executive director
Giving voice to the energy crisis
As Sunak is set to be confirmed as the UK’s next prime minister, the activists have brought copies of people’s energy bills to the Lobby of Parliament.
They are reading out testimonies from bill payers, addressed to Sunak, bringing their voices into the heart of government.
The activists, including Greenpeace UK’s new co-executive director, Will McCallum, are there to add the voices of disabled people and people experiencing fuel poverty to the growing movement of public outrage over the government’s mishandling of the energy crisis.
The protest follows in the wake of the month-long rolling demonstrations outside Parliament by climate campaigners.