As Ofgem is set to raise the price cap for energy bills to around £2,800, a group of activists have launched a new campaign urging millions of Britons to not pay their energy bills in protest. Campaign group Don’t Pay UK, which is run by activists operating anonymously to avoid repercussions from energy companies, has already gathered over 4,000 social media followers since launching last week.
Their website reads: “It’s simple: we are demanding a reduction of energy bills to an affordable level, our leverage is that we will gather a million people to pledge not to pay if the government goes ahead with another massive hike on October 1st.”
Ofgem announced recently that the price cap for household energy bills is set to rise to around £2,800 by October, with some experts putting the figure at £3,000.
The campaigners say that their protest is just like the Poll Tax protests in Britain in the late 1980s and 1990s, where 17 million people refused to pay newly imposed a single flat-rate, per-capita tax on every adult, at a rate set by the local authority.
The tax led to a number of protests and even riots, where between 70,000 and 200,000 people demonstrated against the tax on 31 March 1990, eventually helping bring down Margaret Thatcher’s Government.
Their manifesto on the group’s website, says: “Millions of us won’t be able to afford food and bills this winter.
“We cannot afford to let that happen. We demand a reduction of bills to an affordable level.
“We will cancel our direct debits from 1 October if we are ignored.”
Last month Jonathan Brearley, the chief executive of Ofgem, warned the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee that he expects around 12 million people to be thrown into fuel poverty once the price cap rises to £2,800.
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As a result of the April increase to £1,971 a year, there are 6.5 million people in fuel poverty, which is where energy bills eat up a significant share of their income.
In an effort to ease the suffering to everyday Britons, chancellor Rishi Sunak has rolled out a £15billion package to provide one payments to households, paid for a windfall tax or profits made by energy companies.
However, Don’t Pay argues that this package is not enough.
Tom, a spokesperson for the initiative told the Guardian: “So much hope has been lost and we’re just heading towards a genuinely catastrophic winter.
“Thousands of people will freeze to death in their homes if we do nothing.”
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