Thousands are expected to join protests on Saturday demanding a ‘better deal’ for workers
Thousands of people are set to join a mass demonstration in London urging Boris Johnson’s government do do more in the cost of living crisis and provide a better deal for workers.
The Trade Union Congress, which is organising the event on Saturday, said workers are suffering the “longest and hardest” squeeze on their earnings in modern history.
Frances O’Grady, the head of the TUC, said millions had been left “without a safety net as bills and prices skyrocket”, with the Bank of England forecasting that inflation could reach 11 per cent in the autumn.
Her remarks came as Simon Clarke, the chief secretary to the Treasury, issued a fresh warning to workers that they cannot expect pay rises to keep up with the soaring cost-of-living, saying it risked “fuelling an inflationary” 1970s-style wage-price spiral.
But Ms O’Grady said: “Boris Johnson has cynically abandoned his commitment to a high wage economy. He and other ministers are treating workers like Oliver Twist by telling them not to dare ask for a decent pay rise.
“The last thing we need right now is for wages to be held down. I want everyone to join us in London today to demand a better deal for working people. Enough is enough!”
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Johnson’s new cost-of-living tsar David Buttress also urged private companies to “come to the party” and help families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis with rising prices.
The co-founder of the food delivery firm Just Eat, who was appointed to the role for six months with no budget or spending power, told the BBC he wanted to make practical interventions to get food shops, utilities and leisure businesses to cut costs.
“If you think about all the money that’s spent on marketing and doing deals to promote some of the big leisure activities that the British people enjoy – let’s take some of that money,” he said.
“Let’s refocus it on what really matters to people which is making their prices more competitive so their money goes further and they can still enjoy a good day out as a family.”
He also said: “All of us are in it together, which is why I want my old colleagues in business and industry to come to the party in the next six months and help”.
Just hours after being appointed to the role, however, it emerged Mr Buttress had previously called on Mr Johnson to quit over the Partygate scandal and suggested the prime minister lacked intelligence.
He also hit out at the “total absence” of investment and described voting Conservative as an “act of self-harm,” according to the BBC.
Pressed on whether he still held those views, he replied: “You have to bear in mind I had never met any of the team in No 10, least of all obviously the prime minister.
“I’ve always been very colourful on social media. I’ve always enjoyed the banter of Twitter.
“There’s a really important job to do here – I think it says everything about this government and the prime minister that actually they’re putting someone like me in place, who really cares about it, who wants to make a big impact in this area.”