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Protests against fuel poverty hit nationwide

FUEL poverty protests were held in cities across Britain today on the start of a four-day action demanding the sector be brought into public ownership.

The demonstrations are part of Unite Community’s Energy 4 All Campaign, which includes other organisations such as Fuel Poverty Action (FPA).

Actions were taken in cities including Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Southampton, Glasgow and London.

Glasgow FPA organiser Eryn Browning told the Star that “531 people died in the winter across Scotland last year, while Scottish Power makes billions in profits.

“Frankly it’s outrageous, and it needs to stop.

“The government can and should ban pre-payment meters, they drive people already in debt into further crisis.

“This doesn’t get solved without nationalisation.

“Everything else is just band-aids, and without that kind of action, people will continue to die.”

Unites’s Keith Stoddart urged locals to get involved in the Energy 4 All campaign to win free energy allowances, fair tariffs, public ownership and an end to pre-payment meters.

Speaking to a local pensioners’ group, he said: “Earlier this year, the Prime Minister spent £400,000 on a swimming pool, and then had to get a new electricity sub-station fitted because it wasn’t the right temperature for him.

“He’s splashing the cash while millions can’t stay afloat.

“He’s got no concept of our struggles, and that’s why we must come together not only to support one another, but to build a voice so loud it cannot be ignored.”

In Manchester trade unionists and campaign groups united at a “warm-up” protest demanding the government take immediate action to end fuel poverty.

They protested at “damning subsidies and profits for fossil fuel producers and energy suppliers which are driving energy poverty and costing lives.”

Unite Community activist Holly Donovan said: “People are ‘warming up’ to demand our human right to energy is respected and delivered. 

“There’s plenty of money in energy company profits to ensure access to clean and affordable energy for all.” 

One in four British households are estimated to be in fuel poverty and thousands of people die each year due to cold and damp homes, organisers said.

They say this especially affects people who are sick or elderly, and disabled people who have extra energy costs.

Demonstrations will take place across Britain until Monday.

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