Campaigners from a group known as the ‘Cost of Living Coalition’ are calling for Northern Ireland’s economy minister to take action on sky-high prices.
The group has organised a protest outside the Stormont department’s headquarters on Adelaide Street in Belfast for this Saturday at 1pm.
A spokesperson for the group said: ““Working-class people are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with rising energy costs but Stormont ministers are asleep at the wheel.
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“The economy minister has refused to challenge the electricity, gas, and oil companies who are racking up record profits, largely at the expense of our poorest and most vulnerable.
“Our Utility Regulator, which is overseen by the Department for the Economy, approved 17 of 19 proposed energy hikes in the past five years alone. This is unacceptable.
“We see that the oil and gas giant BP has trebled its profits to £7bn this year. People are now alive to the fact that the current cost-of-living crisis is directly linked to rampant profiteering by these companies. Many of these same companies are also responsible for the impending climate disaster. If we are to have any chance at averting either of these crises, then we need decisive action now.”
The coalition added: “The minister still has the power to implement policy decisions within his department, but he has point blank refused to challenge the private sector. In the longer term, electricity and energy provision needs to be nationalised so that natural resources are used for the benefit of all.
“In the shorter term, the minister should introduce energy price reductions and caps before the cost-of-living crisis spirals further out of control.”
The protest is being backed by People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll, who said: “I commend the Cost of Living Coalition Belfast for organising Saturday’s protest and would encourage the public to support them in their demands. There is an urgent need to cut and cap costs.”