Cost of living crisis: Thousands demand action over bills in central London march

·2-min read

Thousands of people have marched in central London demanding more action from the government over the rising cost of living.

The march in central London came as the country braces for major rail strikes next week, after talks failed to resolve a dispute over pay, job cuts and workers' conditions.

Beginning in Portland Place, the protesters walked to Parliament Square for a rally organised by the TUC.

Banners read "end fuel poverty, insulate homes now", "nurses not nukes" and "cut war not welfare".

PM says Britain will 'get through' crisis - cost of living latest

Songs including I Need A Dollar and Money Money Money were played through loud speakers.

The TUC said its research showed some workers had lost almost £20,000 since 2008 because pay has not kept pace with inflation.

Yvonne Thomas, a social care worker, told Sky News: "Sometimes you look at your gas and electric and you're starting to cry, because you don't know which one to top up first.

"You have to be working 50, 60 hours so you're able to meet your bills and pay your rent. This is not acceptable in the 21st century."

Teacher Frankie Brown, 24, said: "Every day I have got kids in my class who are going home to homes where they don't have enough to eat."

Matthew Searles, a paramedic with the London Ambulance Service, told Sky News he never imagined that in mid-life he would have to think about what food to buy. His current financial situation makes him feel like a student again, he added.

Frances O'Grady, TUC general secretary, said it was time to "raise taxes on wealth not workers".

She added: "What about bankers' bonuses? What about the boardroom raking it in? What about corporate profits?"

Boris Johnson has said Britain will get through the cost of living crisis and "come through on the other side strongly".

Speaking after returning from a trip to Kyiv, the prime minister added: "I sympathise very much with everybody who is facing pressures caused by the cost of living. We will get through it."

He also rejected a suggestion that a £21bn package announced last month by Chancellor Rishi Sunak - including a £400 discount on energy bills for all - would potentially raise inflation.

"We don't believe that this support is inflationary," Mr Johnson said.

Largest rail strikes in decades

The action by tens of thousands of rail workers will cripple services for most of the week. People have been advised to avoid travelling unless necessary.

Strikes at Network Rail and 13 train operators will go ahead on Tuesday, Thursday and next Saturday, and on London Underground on Tuesday.

Union leaders have said: "We believe it will go to people who need it. We think it is completely the right thing to do."

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: "Strikes should always be the last resort, not the first, so it is hugely disappointing and premature that the RMT is going ahead with industrial action.

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