The grassroots campaigns fighting back against the cost of living crisis in Wales
By ITV Wales journalist Kat Clementine
Fuel prices are rising week-in, week-out, rents are being put up and many people’s wages are not increasing in line with inflation.
All that and as of April, more families in Wales will feel the pinch as the cost of living rises yet again with the biggest jump in domestic energy bills in living memory coming into effect.
Eight in 10 (83%) Welsh consumers said they were worried about energy prices, a huge increase from the almost six in 10 (57%) who were concerned last year, according to consumer champion Which?
Many feel helpless as purse strings are pulled tighter, but there are people in Wales fighting back against the cost of living crisis. ITV Cymru Wales finds out how.
'There are people making a change that are also greatly affected'
The younger generation are facing having to choose between living independently, or social exclusion, Edryd Gwyfyn says.
“I graduated last year and got to the point where I thought I’d like to move out and live on my own - but I actually can’t afford to do that.
“I might have some savings, but I don't have enough savings to be able to work a full time job, pay rent, have a social life and do things that aren't just work, eat or sleep - because otherwise, what's the point?
“It sounds very bleak. But that's why some people end up in situations where they go, ‘what's the point of living if all I'm ever doing is just going to the office 9am-5pm coming home, and then doing the same thing every day?’”
“It’s a form of social exclusion”, they added.
Edryd is a member of the Breakthrough Party, which they say was formed with “the aim of giving a voice to working class people that feel disenfranchised by mainstream politics”.
“The vast majority of the membership is working class people, they're either on low wages, or they're unemployed. Many people turn up to our policy meetings, wearing three coats and a jumper because their heating is just too expensive.
“So there are people making a change that are also greatly affected by these things.”
One solution to help with the cost of living crisis, would be energy produced in Wales - and being used in Wales, according to Edryd.
“Nationalised energy companies, so that ownership is in the hands of the people, rather than in the hands of private corporations that can then make astronomical amounts of money.
“Shell, for example, made, I believe, £900 a second last year. £900 - think of that to someone that's got a minimum wage income, like myself. That's the difference between whether you can afford the rent that month or not.”
'It feels like there's a few people making a lot of money out of our misery'
Adam Johannes is taking to the streets of Cardiff to march against the cost of living crisis on Saturday (April 2).
“Politicians use words like ‘inflation’, which almost make it sound like scientific, or like an act of God,” he said.
“But really, we know that your rents rise when landlords put up rents, your energy bills rise because energy providers put up prices, your shopping bills rise because the supermarkets put up prices.
“It feels that there's a few people making a lot of money out of our misery, we have to stop them.”
Adam is a member of the People’s Assembly, which was created in response to austerity measures.
He said: “We know that governments can act - in Portugal, they froze people's energy bills for a year. In France, they only let them rise by 4% and said all the energy companies have to take the hit.”
How will Wales be hit hard by the cost of living crisis?
"Wales is the poorest country in the UK, we have the highest rates of poverty, we have the highest rates of child poverty. We also have the highest rates of low pay so we're particularly vulnerable to these kinds of crises.
“Wales’ housing stock is very old. So our houses leak a lot of energy - we could create thousands of public sector jobs to insulate homes."
"When you're in poverty or poor, you're encouraged by our society to internalise that you've failed: 'I didn't make it' so I decided collective action is very important," Adam says.One of thirty protests taking place across the UK by The People's Assembly Against Austerity takes place in Cardiff on Saturday April 2, at 12.30 pm meeting at the Aneurin Bevan Statue, Queen Street.