Nearly 450,000 people – and counting – have signed up to the Enough is Enough campaign to tackle the UK’s cost of living crisis.
The new campaign, founded by trade unions and community organisations, has set demands that include pay rises, a reduction in energy bills and an end to food poverty, and comes as energy bills are forecast to reach £3,582 from October and £4,200 from January.
Here, six people from across the UK explain why they joined the campaign.
‘Unpaid carers are going to be hit hard’
“I joined because I feel we need to see more action being taken by the UK government to tackle the cost of living and energy-price cap crisis. Unpaid carers are going to be hit just as hard, if not harder, when the price cap increases in October and we deserve to have our concerns heard. My biggest worry is that I’m not going to have enough money to pay bills and end up in energy debt.
“Lots of families with unpaid carers are on benefits – it’s a fixed income, there’s no chance of working extra hours or making a bit of extra money. We’ll have to make that money stretch even further come October. I know there’s the grants from the government, but going on what the price cap is going to be increased by, it’s just not going to cover it.”
Mike O’Brien, 50, unpaid carer, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
‘I have started stockpiling wood’
“Even though I earn a decent wage, after not having a pay rise for several years, and the fast increasing rise in bills, living costs and transport, I am genuinely worried about being able to afford everything come winter. I have started stockpiling wood so I do not have to use heating. I try to pick up reduced food to put in the freezer and walk as much as possible to save on transport costs. I am hoping for the greed to stop, for people to be given a proper living wage and for people to not have to make a choice between heating their home and eating.”
Naomi Richards, 40, Bristol, teacher
‘The opposition needs to be more forceful’
“I joined because the government is ruining the country. The opposition may be playing things strategically to be elected next time, but those tactics do nothing for the here and now. I understand Labour’s strategy of wanting to be elected, I only wish there was an alliance of the opposition parties to oust the Tories.
“I think the opposition needs to be more forceful and clearer with their message on the cost of living crisis. The damage that is being done to hardworking folk and to those who are unable to work is so serious – we need a national campaign to raise awareness and empower people to challenge all that is wrong.”
Lyn O’Reilly, 73, Rochdale, retired headteacher
‘Everybody in my community is panicking’
“Enough was enough six years ago, but now our wages don’t cover food, petrol, childcare, extra insurance, extra tax. Pay extra, pay extra, they keep saying.
“Now, everybody I meet is panicking, people in the shops and colleagues are all saying ‘this isn’t right’. I was made redundant twice during Covid, and when I applied for universal credit, after having worked for 44 years, I was told I’d have to wait 10 weeks to get anything. I eventually received £312 on Christmas Eve, and had a bit of a breakdown.
“I needed a dental appointment and was told the next one was in four months. The girls I work with are paying £1,400 a month for childcare. My wage isn’t even that. I think everybody’s just had enough.”
Christine, 59, construction company administrator, Wigan
‘I’m not sure how high bills will go’
“It’s terrifying to think that 40% of Britain could be in fuel poverty this winter, which will have huge repercussions on mental and physical health, especially in households with young children. While families are choosing between food and fuel, it is abhorrent that these companies are handing out bonuses and dividends made up of our money.
“Our bills are estimated to rise by thousands a year and I’m not sure how high they’ll go. We need serious action. I’m hoping that the campaign will unite workers from all sectors to take action in whatever possible way. The idea that all workers, from nurses, teachers, rail workers to call centre staff are united to one goal – fair pay, an end to fuel poverty and the right to adequate housing – puts us all in a much stronger position.
Matthew Appleyard, 22, Hull, IT support assistant
‘Our government is asleep at the wheel’
“I am sick of all this greed. It seems that every company is out to completely fleece the common person, especially energy companies and fossil fuel producers, which seem to be taking full advantage of inflation and global shortages to absolutely rip everybody off and line shareholders’ pockets. But even companies like my telecoms provider put up my tariff by 8%, and it’s not like my service has improved.
“Our government is asleep at the wheel. We haven’t got a leader at the moment, and the Tories are fighting amongt themselves instead of coming up with policies, such as a windfall tax to pay for people’s energy bills. I’m not badly off, but I’ll be struggling to pay the predicted costs this winter. The country is in a really dire predicament. We need a fairer society, and in my view we need a coalition-type government in times like these, not a Tory hegemony. We have had 12 years of mismanagement and we need change.”
Samuel Baines, 39, healthcare project manager, Newbury, Berkshire