Press release: UK Uncut to form ‘dole queue’ outside Downing St on Budget Day to highlight soaring unemployment


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Hundreds of people will gather to form a ‘dole queue’ outside Downing St at 11am on Budget Day, Wed 21st March to highlight soaring unemployment under the government’s austerity programme [1].

Unemployed people from across London will come together with members of the anti-austerity direct action group UK Uncut to recreate the Tories’ iconic 1979 election poster featuring a queue of jobseekers snaking into the distance [2].

‘Unemployment officers’ will shepherd the queue into shape as a makeshift claimant office is installed outside the gates of No. 11.

Expected to join the queue to talk about alternatives to austerity are Caroline Lucas MP, economists Andrew Simms and Richard Murphy and campaigners from the Robin Hood Tax.

Jobseeker Rachel Goodwin said:”Osborne goes on about growth but the only the thing that’s growing under the government’s austerity programme is the number of people out of work. He claims this is a Budget for ‘working people’. Well, there will continue to be fewer and fewer of those unless he halts his devastating public sector cuts and looks to the alternatives.”

UK Uncut activist Joe Brooking said: “Austerity isn’t just unfair and unnecessary – it isn’t working. Instead of continuing with his slash-and-burn economics, George Osborne should use the £25bn/year avoided in tax by corporations and rich individuals to prevent further public sector job losses and start creating opportunities for young people. Osborne talks tough on tax avoidance, yet he’s opening up a new tax loophole that will cost the UK nearly £1bn a year by the Treasury’s own estimates.”

Emily Heywood, who has recently taken part in the Government’s controversial ‘workfare’ scheme, said: “Whilst George attempts to get us to focus on Britain’s rosy relationship with the ratings agencies, he knows a million 16-24 year olds are out of work. As he bangs on about low borrowing costs, Britain’s female unemployment rate has hit a 25 year high. Austerity may be working for the bond markets and the banks, but it isn’t working for Britain.”

[1] Details of event at The jobless total is at a 17-year high of 2.67m, with female unemployment at a 25 year high. Youth unemployment stands at 1.04m, a rate of 22.5%, the highest since records began in 1992.

[2] See for original and for subverted version reading ‘Austerity Isn’t Working’