A RALLY will take place at Glasgow's George Square to protest the Tory cost-of-living crisis, as part of a series of demonstrations taking place across the UK, with Scottish politicians Mercedes Villalba and Tommy Sheppard among the speakers.

Organised by The People's Assembly Scotland and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), protesters will speak out about the unprecedented rise in costs of living faced by people across the UK at the event on Saturday, February 12, at 1pm.

Speakers at the rally include:

  • Roz Foyer, STUC's general secretary
  • Shami Chakrabarti, Labour Peer & former director of Liberty
  • Lilian Macer, Unison Scotland Convener
  • Joe Cullinane, leader of North Ayrshire Council
  • Gordon Martin, RMT
  • Mercedes Villalba MSP
  • Tommy Sheppard MP
  • Steve Dillon, Unite Regional Co-ordinating Officer for Construction
  • Tam Kirby, People's Assembly Scotland
  • John Carson, EC Member of CWU Young Workers Committee
  • Elinor McKenzie, Scottish Pensioners Forum
  • Joe Cullinane, leader of North Ayrshire Council
  • Liz McGachey, PCS NEC
  • Ruth Gilbert, Living Rent

Entertainment will be provided by Tam Kirby and Calum Baird.

READ MORE: Cost of living protesters to target UK Government's Scotland HQ

Former socialist MSP and Socialists for Independence co-founder Frances Curran said: "Our message is 'We can't pay'.

"In the last few days we have seen that the energy companies are still making massive profits. In some cases we have seen companies which are branded as Scottish, but are owned in Spain and with share-holders as close to home as the Qatari Sovereign Wealth Fund making millions from the misery of ordinary Scots."

This month, industry regulator Ofgem announced that in April it will be lifting its cap on bills to £1971 – a rise of 54% – in response to a record rise in global gas prices over the last six months.

Millions of households across the country will face a rise of up to £693 a year in energy bills, with one in four households in the UK expected to be plunged into fuel poverty.

Meanwhile, oil and gas companies are set to make record profits – just this week, Shell announced record profits of $6.4 billion in their final quarter, as compared to $393 million for the same period last year.

Alongside this, inflation has risen to its highest rate in 30 years at 5.4%, while National insurance (NI) rates will go up by 1.25% to 13.25% this April.

The NI rises imposed by Westminster have been criticised by many across the political spectrum as imposing a tax on the poorest in our society, with the think tank NIESR stating that the number of households in the UK in destitution could rise by nearly a third by this Spring as a result.

The National: Westminster

On top of this, figures from the ONS have shown that wages across the UK are stagnating, with no growth in regular pay between September to November 2021.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Yet again workers are being asked to pay the price, this time for inflation and the energy crisis. Inflation has not been caused by workers. Why should they be expected to pay for the failures of the energy market and the total shambles of Government policy?

“Workers don’t need lectures from the Governor of the Bank of England on exercising pay restraint. Why is it that every time there is a crisis, rich men ask ordinary people to pay for it?

“Enough is enough, we will be demanding that employers who can pay, do pay. Let's be clear, pay restraint is nothing more than a call for a national pay cut.”