Tuesday, 20 March 2012

POLITICS: Budget Day Protest Planned

Austerity protest will take the dole to Downing Street

PROTESTORS are to stage a live-action recreation of an infamous 1979 Conservative election poster when they gather outside Downing Street tomorrow to form a ‘dole queue’ – to declare that ‘austerity isn’t working’.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivers his latest Budget tomorrow in which he is expected to cut the 50 pence top rate of tax. The Government claims the Budget will force high-earners to ‘cough up’ despite the tax cuts, but critics are already condemning the Budget as a sweet deal for the rich.

The 1979 original
Hundreds of people will gather to form the ‘dole queue’ outside Downing Street at 11am on Budget Day tomorrow, to highlight soaring unemployment under the Government's austerity programme.

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 that featured a queue of jobseekers snaking into the distance.

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

The jobless total is at a 17-year high of 2.67 million people, according to the latest available figures, with female unemployment at a 25-year high. Youth unemployment stands at 1.04 million, a rate of 22.5 per cent, which is the highest since records began in 1992.

A number of speakers are expected to join the queue to talk about alternatives to austerity. Among them are Caroline Lucas MP, economists Andrew Simms and Richard Murphy, and campaigners from the Robin Hood Tax, where they will argue their case for an alternative strategy.

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,” said jobseeker Rachel Goodwin, ahead of tomorrow’s action. “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 added: "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 £25 billion a 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 £1 billion 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."


Category: POLITICS



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