12 Years A Slave director slams austerity’s impact on violent crime epidemic

Steve McQueen, winner of the BFI Fellowship Award, pictured in the press room at the London Film Festival Awards, held at Ban
Steve McQueen, winner of the BFI Fellowship Award, pictured in the press room at the London Film Festival Awards, held at Banqueting House in London.

12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen blamed austerity for London’s knife crime epidemic and backed Jeremy Corbyn to be a better prime minister than Theresa May.

The filmmaker, who was born in the capital, said cuts to education and other services for young people had contributed to the violent crime plaguing the UK.

He told the Press Association: “The level of education has gone down, schools, free education, free universities.

“Putting them into education, give people hope, give people an idea of a future. When there is austerity and such like, that’s what happens.

“Cuts in so many things for children, that’s what happens.”

Asked if he thought a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government would improve the situation, he said: “I would hope so. He couldn’t do any worse, could he?”

McQueen, who has won an Academy Award, a Bafta and a Golden Globe, is known for films including 12 Years A Slave, Hunger and Shame.

In Los Angeles on Friday, he scooped the John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing.

Speaking before the ceremony, he said: “It feels great. I am quite fortunate. It feels odd because the spotlight is on me when it should be on other people, who helped me get to where I am.

“I am very chuffed.”

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