Greenpeace projects fuel poverty film onto Rishi Sunak’s Yorkshire home

Greenpeace activists have beamed a film about a community struggling to support themselves through the cost of living crisis onto Rishi Sunak’s Yorkshire mansion.

The documentary projected onto the prime minister’s constituency home was made by the environmental campaigning network in partnership with the New Economics Foundation, and tells the story of those living in the Rother Valley in south Yorkshire.

The film traces the lives of its residents, whose constituency resides just south of Rotherham, and their fight to keep the local food banks and community centres afloat amid a surge in demand inflamed by the soaring cost of household bills.

Greenpeace said a trailer forThe Cost Of Living was projected onto the front of the premier’s home in the chocolate-box village of Kirby Sigston the night before the long-awaited autumn Budget. The film is set to be screened publicly all over the country.

It comes as new Greenpeace polling found that the issues raised in the film, though felt nationwide, are having the biggest impact on those living in former so-called Red Wall constituencies, many of which swung to Conservatives at the 2019 election.

The results of the survey published today show that 64.6 per cent of those living in the UK have had to make cuts to their spending due to soaring energy bills, rising to 72.5 per cent in Red Wall constituencies.

Meanwhile, 59.3 per cent of respondents said they felt that their standard of living had become worse since the last general election, which climbed to 60.8 per cent in former Red Wall seats.

The trailer for ‘The Cost of Living’ was projected onto Mr Sunak’s constituency home in Yorkshire (© Greenpeace)
The trailer for ‘The Cost of Living’ was projected onto Mr Sunak’s constituency home in Yorkshire (© Greenpeace)

Some 76.8 per cent told Greenpeace they would support a government programme to install home insulation in their area, rising to 80 per cent in former Labour heartlands.

In order to tackle fuel poverty in the UK, the campaign group is calling on the government to spend at least £6bn on implementing “a national insulation and energy efficiency programme during this parliament”.

In a statement, Heather Kennedy, a community organiser from the New Economics Foundation who works in the Rother Valley and helped produce the film, urged Mr Sunak to set up a nationwide insulation programme for homes as temperatures plummet.

She said: “The Cost of Living shows communities in South Yorkshire, but the circumstances they face will be familiar to people right across Britain. After the longest fall in incomes on modern records, and over a decade of underfunded, crumbling public services, we are being hit with inflated energy costs that are making fossil fuel companies rich and us poor.

“The rise in energy prices is made much worse by our poorly insulated, leaky homes, which waste our money every time we turn on our heating.

“But there is investment the government could make in this budget that would protect us from rising energy costs this winter and in the winters to come.

“Our prime minister Rishi Sunak should kick-start a national programme of home upgrades to insulate Britain’s cold, draughty homes this winter. This programme would bring down people’s energy bills now and in the future, and keep people warm in their homes.

“The faster we do it, the more carbon, money and lives we’ll save.”

Greenpeace local groups will be holding over 40 public screenings of the film and discussions about the issues it raises, and inviting local MPs, all over the country.

The film will also be released online on Tuesday.