Merton CIL supports independent recommendations to improve the benefits system


20th October 2020 - Merton CIL has given a positive response to the recommendations of the independent Commission on Social Security. The Commission was set up by Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations and claimants and user groups. All the commissioners have lived experience of the benefits system.

The Commission has said the benefits system should be based on 5 key principles:

  1. everyone should have enough money to live on
  2. people should be treated with dignity, respect and trust
  3. there should be rights and entitlements
  4. be provided through a user friendly and accessible service that involves people with lived experience in running the service
  5. there is free advice, support and advocacy available

It also makes a range of recommendations about specific changes These include:

  • a new Guaranteed Decent Income to replace Universal Credit and the other main income replacement benefits
  • a new benefit to replace Personal Independence Payments (PIP) to cover the extra costs of living as a disabled person with an assessment using an approach based on the social model of disability.
  • an end to the bedroom tax
  • benefit rates to be put up every year

The Commission also looked beyond the benefits system to consider issues around social care and independent living. It recommended that services should be free of charge and supported by a National Independent Living Support Service.

Free prescriptions and dental treatment are also recommended.

Merton CIL’s policy and strategy manager, Michael Turner, says ‘these are sensible, achievable ideas that would move us to a system that is both more humane system and simpler to administer.’