LOCALS are being encouraged to join an ‘End Fuel Poverty’ protest on Wednesday - the day the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will be making his budget speech.

In Barnsley protesters will gather at 12noon to run a stall in the precinct near the Coffee Boy cafe and protests are set to take place elsewhere across the country. Protesters have said the ‘enormous’ increase in gas and electricity has left millions of people worrying about how they can pay their bills and also afford to eat.

British Gas profits jumped to £751m in 2023, up from £72m a year earlier. Eon, the second largest energy provider in the UK, said its first-half earnings from its UK business soared to £839m from £352m in the same period of 2022.

George Arthur, from the Barnsley Retirees Action Group, told the Chronicle: “Latest figures show around 40 per cent of households in the Barnsley East and Barnsley Central constituencies live in fuel poverty - over 34,000 people.

“We will be asking everyone in Barnsley on Wednesday to sign a card to Rishi Sunak calling on him to implement policies that will help all those suffering from fuel poverty.

“Unite Community nationally is collecting these cards from campaigns all round the country to take down to Downing Street in a show of how strong people feel that we need something better.”