Will the initiative bear fruit? Since the end of June in the United Kingdom, a collective of citizens called “Don’t pay UK” has been inviting the British to no longer pay their gas and electricity bills from October in order to rebel against the rise in prices, and thus hopes to force energy suppliers to reduce the bill, as reported by the daily from across the Channel The Guardian.
Since the launch of the operation, 94,643 people (at the publication of this article) have pledged to participate in this action of civil disobedience, according to a count hosted on the “Don’t pay UK” website.
The members of the collective refuse to be considered as “cash cows”
“We are a movement against rising energy bills. We demand a reduction in energy bills to an affordable level. We will cancel our direct debits from October 1st if we are ignored. We will take this step if the pledges reach 1 million”, is it explained on the home page of the site.
Still far from the expected million people, “Don’t pay UK” offers every British citizen the opportunity to help publicize the movement by printing or ordering leaflets or stickers.
“Right now we are setting up mailing lists and on Telegram, TikTok, Instagram, Reddit and Twitter to start telling people about it. […] We will need people, organizations and community groups to do all of this as well, building this street by street, estate by estate and town by town.
“We are clear about this from the start: we will only do this if we get a critical mass of people committing to canceling their bills from October 1. It’s the number [1 million] we need to show serious power to the energy companies and the government,” he said.
“It can only work if we believe in each other and show the powers that be that we cannot stand being treated like cash cows,” he said.
Also on its site, “Don’t pay UK” insists that “mass non-payment is not a new idea”. “It happened in the UK in the late 80s and 90s when over 17 million people refused to pay the Poll Tax – helping bring down the government [de Margaret Thatcher] and to cancel its most severe measures”, he recalls.
Record inflation for 40 years in the United Kingdom
The date chosen for the start of the operation – October 1 – is no accident. Indeed, it is on this day that the maximum ceiling for electricity and gas bills should be raised, as usual, by the British regulator. According to the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, it should reach “around 3,500 pounds” (4,138 euros) against 1,971 pounds (2,330 euros) today. In October 2021, it reached 1,277 pounds (1,509 euros), an increase of more than 174% in one year.
In June, inflation in the United Kingdom stood at 9.4% over one year, its highest level for 40 years. On August 4, the Bank of England announced a forecast of 13% inflation for the fourth quarter.
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