“the People’s Assembly Against Austerity mounted nationwide cost-of-living crisis protests this weekend in response to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement”Labour Outlook
By the Labour Outlook team
In response to the Chancellor’s recent Spring Statement, which made clear the return of austerity and a renewed assault on working class incomes – to the benefit of the most wealthy – the People’s Assembly Against Austerity mounted nationwide cost-of-living crisis protests this weekend.
To emphasise the impact of the Conservatives economic decisions this year, the protests took place the day after the new energy price cap came into place, and the day that social security and pensions rose, but with the annual award well below inflation at 3.1%, it translates as a cut in real income.
The events also took place in the wake of the sacking of 800 staff by P&O Ferries, demonstrating not only the coming cuts in pay and public service spending, but also the continued exploitation of employment law that allows companies to prioritise profit over people.
The slogans therefore reflected those two priorites – ‘Cost of Living Crisis – We Can’t Pay’ and ‘Justice for 800 P&O Workers’.
It was the third in a series of monthly actions by the People’s Assembly this year, and this was by far the largest, with protests taking place in at least 25 towns and cities.
In London, thousands packed into Whitehall for a protest at the gates of Downing Street, addressed by former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
We need government action now — with a price cap on gas and electricity bills and for energy companies to be taken into public ownership to stop many more thousands falling into poverty. #CostOfLivingCrisis pic.twitter.com/026xFK7ZlD— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) April 2, 2022
People’s Assembly Chair and former Labour MP Laura Pidcock travelled to Liverpool to join Ian Byrne MP address a rally at the Pier Head.
A real privilege to speak at @pamerseyside this morning along side some fantastic speakers on the #CostOfLivingCrisis and our collective response.#HungerIsAPoliticalChoice #RightToFood https://t.co/i2sQFABAh6— lan Byrne MP (@IanByrneMP) April 2, 2022
Elsewhere, Beth Winter MP, Welsh Labour MP from the 2019 General Election, addressed the People’s Assembly demonstration in Cardiff before joining the The World Transformed’s first and packed out Cardiff Transformed event.
This cost of living crisis is a political choice.— Beth Winter MP (@BethWinterMP) April 3, 2022
We can’t afford to stand as the Government wage war on the working class any longer. We must fight back. We must organise.
I spoke at the cost of living demo in Cardiff yesterday organised by @PAWalesCymru pic.twitter.com/OsgBFia7QY
Protests also took place in Sheffield, where Olivia Blake MP, urged people to attend the local protest against the cost of living crisis.
This Saturday 2 April there will be a @pplsassembly demonstration in Sheffield, as part of a national day of action to fight the #CostofLivingCrisis✊📢— Olivia Blake MP (@_OliviaBlake) March 29, 2022
Meet at 11am outside the Moor Market. Or find your nearest protest here: https://t.co/LTUwd94XSK #WeCantPay pic.twitter.com/0PVGpnDwS8
And protesters also took to the streets in Manchester.
@PplsAssemblyMcr Cost of Living protest in conjunction with the RMT today in Manchester. RMT and Chep strikers leading the march pic.twitter.com/MQpLwCAAdb— Chris Neville (@ChrisNev1985) April 2, 2022
The number of events around the country demonstrate the growing concern with the cost-of-living crisis and the re-energising of the People’s Assembly movement, which has organised mass demonstrations against the government’s public services cuts and assaults on public sector pay since the early days of the 2010-2015 Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition Government.
The next announced public protest against the cost-of-living crisis is the national TUC demonstration ‘Britain Needs a Payrise’ on 18 June in central London.