Portsmouth rally joins nationwide cost of living protests with activists warning of rising unrest across the city

ACTIVIST groups across Portsmouth have staged a rally in Guildhall Square to call for greater government action on the cost of living crisis, warning that unrest is unlikely in the coming months.

Saturday, 2nd April 2022, 5:24 pm

It comes as residents across the city see their utility bills skyrocket as the energy cap goes up, alongside inflation increasing the cost of food and fuel.

Now, dozens of activists from the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, Portsmouth Trades Council, and Black Lives Matter have gathered in Guildhall Square to call for more action those struggling.

Jon Woods, chairman of Portsmouth Trades Council, said that many people were yet to feel the squeeze on standards – but Portsmouth was in a ‘dire’ position and increasing unrest could not be discounted.

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From left, Anna Lilley, Michelle Lincoln, chair of Portsmouth Trades council Jon Woods, Mark Sage and Khalid Sidahmed. Cost of living protest organised by Portsmouth Trades Council, at the Guildhall, Portsmouth. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

The trade union activist said: ‘What was interesting is that a lot of people stopped and listened, and previously that hasn’t happened. People stopped and listened and joined us.

‘I think the full impact hasn’t hit yet. It’s going to hit more people deeper and deeper in the coming months.

‘I think we’ll see more protests, and they were will be a real drive not just for protests, but also action on wages through unions.’

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Free insulation would be ‘a big benefit’ to help the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis, according to the protester.

He added: ‘There is a lot of housing stock that is energy inefficient.’

The Portsmouth rally is one of dozens that took place across the country this weekend, with similar events held outside Downing Street in London, as well as Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool, Sheffield, and Southampton.

The events have been coordinated by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, a group which warned that increasing number of people face a choice of eating or heating their homes.

It comes after months of warnings from food banks and family support organisations that many residents face real hardship.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has called on the government to halt its planned National Insurance rise, while Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt has complied a list of resources on her website for struggling families.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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