Advertisement
Social Justice

Campaigners call for a million people to cancel their energy bills if government refuses to act

More than 800 people have already signed up to organise the mass non-payment of energy bills

Campaigners are calling for a million people across the UK to stop paying their energy bills in October if the government “goes ahead with another massive hike”.

Don’t Pay is a drive to push the government and energy companies to make bills more affordable as people struggle through a cost of living crisis.

More than 800 people have already signed up to help organise the mass non-payment in just a few days. The hope is that this group will inspire a million people to join them in cancelling their bills on October 1.

A spokesperson for Don’t Pay, who has asked to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, said: “Millions of us won’t be able to afford food and bills this winter. We cannot afford to let that happen. We’re all worried about what this will mean for us and our families but, if we come together through collective action, we can force the government and energy companies to reduce our energy bills.” 

An estimated 3.16 million people in the UK could not afford to pay their household energy bills in 2020, the most recent year for which statistics are available. 

Prices for electricity, gas and fuels rose by over 46 per cent in April 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics, when the energy regulator Ofgem increased the energy price cap. 

Advertisement
Advertisement

Costs continue to rise, with 85 per cent of adults reporting an increase in their gas and electricity bills last month and another increase energy price cap increase expected in October.

As energy bills continue to rise at worrying rates, many more families will be left unable to cook a meal, have a hot shower or heat their homes in the winter. 

Subscribe to The Big Issue

From just £3 per week

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work. With each subscription we invest every penny back into supporting the network of sellers across the UK. A subscription also means you'll never miss the weekly editions of an award-winning publication, with each issue featuring the leading voices on life, culture, politics and social activism.

Organisers of Don’t Pay say they are local people who want to remain anonymous in media coverage. They have no official affiliation with any organisations or charities. 

They are hoping that this decentralised, grassroots approach will urge huge numbers of people to take collective action. They believe that hundreds, if not thousands, of people are beginning to take action in their local communities.

The campaigners say on their website that they are “demanding a reduction of energy bills to an affordable level”. For this to work, they claim they need one million people to pledge to cancel their bills. The strike will not go ahead unless they have this “critical mass of people”. 

“Even if a fraction of those of us who are paying on credit metres withhold our payments,” they claim, “it will be enough to put energy companies in serious trouble, and they know this. We want to bring them to the table and force them to end this crisis.”

Stop Mass Homelessness

Help us stop mass homelessness

Unless we act, the UK is facing a homelessness crisis 
this autumn.

Don’t Pay are using social media to attract attention and build support. You can sign up to their emailing list for more information, or sign up to be an organiser on their website. 

The organisers said they already span across more than 300 different towns and cities in the UK. More than 50,000 leaflets have been ordered to another 52 locations. 

The organisers add on their website: “It can only work if we believe in each other and show the powers at be that we would not stand for being treated as cash cows.”

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
Levelling up? How regional inequality has changed since 1997
Levelling up

Levelling up? How regional inequality has changed since 1997

Most Brits think today’s children will find life harder than their parents
Social mobility

Most Brits think today’s children will find life harder than their parents

Roe v Wade overturned: What abortion access and reproductive rights look like around the world
Abortion rights

Roe v Wade overturned: What abortion access and reproductive rights look like around the world

At least £32bn of tax went unpaid last year amid cost of living crisis
Cost of living

At least £32bn of tax went unpaid last year amid cost of living crisis

Most Popular

Read All
Exclusive: BT call centre sets up 'food bank' for its own staff
1.

Exclusive: BT call centre sets up 'food bank' for its own staff

Prince William: 'Why I wanted to work with The Big Issue'
2.

Prince William: 'Why I wanted to work with The Big Issue'

Rainn Wilson emailed Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to say Harry Mudd would 'fit right in'
3.

Rainn Wilson emailed Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to say Harry Mudd would 'fit right in'

The UK approach to replacing the Human Rights Act is just as worrying as the replacement itself
4.

The UK approach to replacing the Human Rights Act is just as worrying as the replacement itself

Keep up to date with The Big Issue. The leading voice on life, politics, culture and social activism direct to your inbox.