Press release: Hundreds join UK Uncut to form dole queue outside Downing Street

Posted on Wed 21st Mar 2012, 1:15pm
Hundreds join UK Uncut's Downing Street Dole Queue to tell George Osborne that 'Austerity Isn't Working'

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Nearly 400 UK Uncut protestors gathered to form a 'dole queue' outside Downing St today to highlight soaring unemployment under the government's austerity programme [1].

Unemployed people from across London came 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]. 400 people joined the queue, which snaked up Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square.

After the queue finished, UK Uncut protestors made their way to the outdoor broadcast area on College Gardens where their chanting of 'Tax the rich, not the poor' forced the BBC to abandon an interview with Lib Dem president Tim Farron.

Jobseeker Rachel Goodwin said: "Osborne goes on about growth but the only the thing that's growing under his 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 http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/blog/austerity-isnt-working. 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 http://gordonsrepublic.brandrepublic.com/2011/03/31/labour-isn-t-working-one-of-only-two-political-ads-to-make-hall-of-fame/ for original and http://dl.dropbox.com/u/136370/alternatives.png for subverted version reading 'Austerity Isn't Working'