Led by Experts by Experience
Many thanks to all of you who submitted evidence and thoughts as part of our CALL FOR SOLUTIONS. With help from our Secretariat the Commissioners will be collating and analysing the 800+ submissions made through various forms including this website, seminars and legislative theatre. WATCH THIS SPACE! The next phase will be to decide on the common trends and thoughts that came from the Call for Solutions.
Who are WE?
The social security (welfare benefits) system is failing.
But there is little agreement on how the system can be improved.
The Commission on Social Security led by Experts by Experience is a project set up to find out how the government could make the welfare benefits system better.
The The Co-chairs of the Commission are
Ellen Clifford, from Inclusion London and Disabled People Against Cuts;
Nick Phillips, from London Unemployed Strategies.
The Commissioners are in charge of the work done by the secretariat who support the project. These are: Michael Orton (Secretary – University of Warwick), Kate Summers (Research Analyst – London School of Economics), Austin Taylor-Laybourn (Observer – Trust for London), Rosa Morris (Independent Researcher on Disability Benefits.
LAUNCH OF THE COMMISSION – 29TH MAY 2019
Poems for the Commission – from the Survivors’ Poetry Workshop at Disability Action in Islington on Saturday 6 July 2019. Plus ‘Written Evidence’ by Debbie McNamara, which was written for the launch of the White Paper project at Trust for London offices.
DELIBERATE by Rona Topaz
Anyone would think this was deliberate
A policy of organised eugenics
A Social Darwinist mentality
A cleansing – economically aesthetic
Such as sanctions for an attendance at a funeral
Three months of zero pounds and zero pence
Collusion from the BMA and charities
Few politicians come to our defence
How many of us knowingly condoning
The systematic killing of the poor?
Official deaths : 130,000
But as one might suspect, it’s probably more?
And what might be its ultimate achievement?
Are such decisions borne from greed or hate?
It certainly has not saved any money
To brutally suppress the welfare state!
A different system – no conditionality
For people who are vulnerable or disabled,
A nurturing empowering plan of action,
A system free of stigmatising labels,
A decent type of payment one can live on,
With help for some job seekers right beside,
And nurturing for end of life included,
Right now they ask : ‘why have you not yet died?’
Yes, anyone would know this was deliberate,
The cruelty and inhumanity,
There’s a myriad of changes to consider,
To change the Darwinist mentality.
Sad Reflectionby Dave Russell
I count myself so lucky :
Around me is a morass of
I think of all those I know,
Faced with blank walls of non-communication,
Vacant ignorance, walls of hostility
Forced to desperation,
To sink ever deeper
Into the ditches of
All those who suffer less must offer bridges,
May the islands of safety expand
To embrace us all.
Haiku by Andrew Rea
Rescuing those less able
Rewarding hard work
System should maintain the dignity of all.
Applies to anyone, on all forms of benefit in need.
But those who work must be rewarded for their efforts, especially including those trying to get back into some degree of work. So system should allow you to be better off the more you work and not create a poverty trap.
LEVEL PLAYING FIELDBY Zen Jones
I’m pulling my damn hair out here
We’re worlds apart
You just don’t speaka my language!
Yet it’s your court and jester
Look mate, I was living on a commune
When my trauma took place
Before that I was on the dole
at 18, A levels and everything
The ‘acute psychogenic psychosis’ box I was put in
meant a hospital bed in Letterkenny
and ‘sleeping treatment’
Where do I say that on your bally form?
My medical records say ‘schizophrenia’
‘manic depressive psychosis’
That all meant every drug from A – Z
Where do I fill in about the side effects?
Apathy, passivity, weight gain, constant craving
Plus the post-traumatic propensity to freak out under stress
That no tablets will settle?
Rachel says : ‘If they’re sending all the loonies out to work
Let ‘em join the British Army
Surely the nutters are cannon fodder?’
I say : YES! I am Tank Girl!
Laura Croft, Tombraider
Train me to be a deadly assassin
And next time I’m paranoid
It’ll be YOU I’m after
Mr Atos Man
Looking so clever on your side of the desk
No talking required
Thankyou – yes to job-focused training
Down the shooting gallery
I’ll put in 40 hours a week
If I’m going to freak out in a job
Let it be in the British Army
I’ll be proud to wear my uniform
To the nuthouse
And shine my boots
With my own spit and government sponsored polish.