Mayor’s fuel-poverty policy fury

Protesters at City Hall

BY CALUM FRASER

Protesters were dragged by security staff out of City Hall on Thursday after disrupting Mayor’s Question Time by chanting and throwing paper aeroplanes at the assembly.

A coalition of environmentalist groups stood up as proceedings began and criticised London Mayor Sadiq Khan for breaking campaign promises to set up a public energy company and fully divest the London Pension Fund from fossil fuels.

All councillors, along with Mr Khan, left the area while City Hall security guards wrestled with defiant protesters. Moments later Conservative Assembly Member Andrew Boff came back to confront the activists calling them “middle-class bullies,” provoking an response from an activist.

Daniel Goss, a member of the Fuel Poverty Action protest group (FPA), said: “Mr Boff’s words are laughable.

“It’s a cynical attempt to leverage  class politics to undermine a legitimate campaign.

“People are dying because of fuel poverty, to call that a middle-class concern is ludicrous.”

An FPA investigation into the Myatts Field North estate in Lambeth found that residents were facing the choice this winter between exposing themselves to the cold or paying inflated energy bills.

Mr Goss said that for frail and elderly people this was a life-threatening decision.  He said: “We all know how high London’s energy bills are.

“The big six’s astronomical profits mean that over one million Londoners’ can’t afford to keep warm in their own homes.

“If Sadiq Khan is serious about tackling fuel poverty it’s time he took money out of oil and gas and put it into a clean public energy company that brings down bills.”

The intervention took place the day before the Mayor’s environmental strategy consultation came to a close.

Currently the London Pension Fund Athority invests £70million in fossil fuel companies.

Campaigner Emma Hughes said: “Sadiq Khan was elected Mayor on the back of two big environmental promises: to set up a public energy company that gives Londoners clean, affordable fuel and to divest the London Pension Fund from fossil fuels.

“Over a year in office and he’s broken both. Today we’re taking back city hall to tell the Mayor to keep his climate promises.”

A spokeswoman for the Mayor of London said: “Mayor’s Question Time was disrupted by a number of protestors, forcing the meeting to be suspended for a few minutes.

“Security officers removed protesters from City Hall so that the session could continue.”

Mr Khan and councillors returned after 20 minutes to continue with the session.

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