Under the title “The Cost of Living comes home for Rishi” Greenpeace has projected a trailer for a new film called The Cost of Living onto the Yorkshire mansion occupied by British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak.
The below is taken from a Greenpeace press release about their publicity stunt, which was sent out on the evening of Wednesday 16 November 2022, at 19:35 GMT. When the press release was sent, an article on the subject had already been published by The Guardian, here, timestamped at around 30 minutes before the press release was sent.
The Cost of Living comes home for Rishi
Greenpeace project fuel poverty film onto the PM’s Yorkshire mansion
Energy crisis campaigners have projected the trailer of ‘The Cost of Living’, a new film about the struggle of people in fuel poverty, onto Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s mansion in Yorkshire on the eve of the autumn statement.
The documentary, made by Greenpeace in partnership with the New Economics Foundation, tells the story of a community struggling to support themselves and each other through the cost of living crisis in food banks and community centres in the Rother Valley, also in Yorkshire. The trailer was projected from a van onto the PM’s constituency home, and the film will have public screenings all over the country.
According to polling, commissioned by Greenpeace from Survation and released today, the issues raised in the film are a problem nationwide, but particularly in the ‘Red Wall’ constituencies which switched to voting Conservative in the 2019 election. The survey shows that 64.6% of the UK have had to make cuts to other spending due to rising energy bills, rising to 72.5% in ‘Red Wall’ constituencies, and 59.3% feel that their standard of living has got worse since the last general election (60.8% in the Red Wall). 76.8% would support a government programme to install home insulation in their area, rising to 80% in the Red Wall.
The two main causes of our high energy bills are soaring gas prices which the oil and gas industry are profiteering from and Britain having the coldest, draughtiest housing stock in Western Europe, wasting the energy we’re paying so much for. Greenpeace is calling for at least £6 billion to be spent on implementing a national insulation and energy efficiency programme during this parliament, and closing what they describe as ‘the enormous loophole in Sunak’s windfall tax that has turned it into a subsidy for climate change’. Anonymous briefings about uncosted programmes under the next government are the very definition of too little, too late.
Heather Kennedy, a community organiser from the New Economics Foundation who works in and around the Rother Valley and helped produce the film, said:
“The Cost of Living shows communities in South Yorkshire, but the circumstances they face will be familiar to people right across Britain. After the longest fall in incomes on modern records, and over a decade of underfunded, crumbling public services, we are being hit with inflated energy costs that are making fossil fuel companies rich and us poor. The rise in energy prices is made much worse by our poorly insulated, leaky homes, which waste our money every time we turn on our heating.
“But there is investment the government could make in this budget that would protect us from rising energy costs this winter and in the winters to come. Our prime minister Rishi Sunak should kick-start a national programme of home upgrades to insulate Britain’s cold, draughty homes this winter. This programme would bring down people’s energy bills now and in the future, and keep people warm in their homes. The faster we do it, the more carbon, money and lives we’ll save.”
Greenpeace local groups will be holding over 40 public screenings of the film and discussions about the issues it raises, and inviting their local MPs, all over the country. The first three screenings are tonight, the day of the autumn statement, in Edinburgh, Bridgend, and Sevenoaks. The film will be released online on Tuesday next week.
Nearly seven million households – a quarter of the country – are already in fuel poverty, and this is expected to rise to eleven million next year without further government intervention. A recent report by Cambridge Econometrics on behalf of Greenpeace UK, highlights how a government backed programme to insulate homes and install heat pumps could inject almost £7 billion a year into the economy and create almost 140,000 new jobs by 2030. These green home upgrades could provide huge economic and social benefits – including to those on low incomes, older people and People of Colour, who tend to be most exposed to fuel poverty – while slashing bills and carbon emissions.
What do you think?
Was this a good piece of activism from Greenpeace? Have they gone too far, invading a Prime Minister’s property? Are they focussing on the right issues?
After the press release was distributed, many primary and secondary news outlets began publishing the story, featuring large chunks of the release, often almost verbatim. Is that what journalism has become? Leave your comments, below.