Skip to main content

Potery on the Picketline universal credit: individual pain

this system is transforming people’s lives
I lived off cereal, so the kids could eat
it’s helping them into work and it’s working for them
I went in my room in a sleeping bag and stayed there for two weeks
it’s a great example of British innovation
yesterday, I had two pieces of toast; the day before, two drop scones
based on leading-edge technology and agile working practices
I’m going to go upstairs and slit my wrists
our strategy is based on continuous improvement
we just won’t be able to pay the rent
you are a person who must be treated as not in Great Britain
where am I then? I’ve lived here since I was nine
you do not have any entitlement to Universal Credit at this time
I’m sick of arguing with these people, I’m sick of arguing on the phone
we are leading the world, we are leading the world
we’ve gone back to the 18th century, they’re living in cuckoo land

Official quotes are taken from statements by Employment Minister Alok Sharma, DWP minister Esther McVey and DWP literature. Statements in italics are by claimants.

Poetry on the Picket Line is a squad of like-minded poets putting themselves about to read their work on picket lines, in the spirit of solidarity. Invitations to rallies etc. welcome, contact The new Poetry on  the Picketline anthology is available at


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 11,791
We need:£ 6,209
8 Days remaining
Donate today