A selection of endorsers for our comprehensive long-term strategy, We can solve poverty in the UK, which shows how the Government, businesses, communities, charities and individuals can all mobilise for a UK free from poverty.
JRF’s work on poverty confronts a critical issue facing UK
society and the global community at large. Poverty matters
to us all – individuals, companies, and government – and
the case for action to develop solutions is compelling across
many dimensions. The moral obligation to assist those in
need is fundamental and should be sufficient to catalyze
immediate change. However, there are even further reasons
Unaddressed, poverty tears at the social fabric of society,
creating understandable disillusionment and unrest in
afflicted communities. Mounting social instability in turn has
the capacity to create economic volatility, harming the
potential for continued growth and shared prosperity.
Indeed, the economic case for addressing poverty is one
which underpins our collective ability to realize a
sustainable, prosperous, and equitable future. JRF’s
commitment to this issue will undoubtedly advance the
dialogue, providing tangible solutions for positive change.
I am pleased the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has thrown
the spotlight on the shameful effects of poverty and
disadvantage on our young people. Reducing poverty
should be one of the key aims of the government, because
generations of young people are missing out on fulfilling
their true potential because of hunger, bad housing
conditions and poor mental health as a result.
We ought to hang our heads in shame that, in the fifth
richest country, so many of our children are familiar with
food banks. I urge the Government to prioritise reducing
poverty to give this and future generations of children a
good start in life. Without tackling child poverty the Prime
Minister will certainly not be able to achieve her aim of
improving social mobility.
The UK has an ‘in-work poverty’ problem. Over 6 million
people are paid less than they need to live on and 64% of
children in poverty live with someone in work. It’s clear that
work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in
the UK. JRF’s anti-poverty strategy comes at a critical
moment - it provides a comprehensive framework for
tackling poverty and offers real solutions to the UK’s
entrenched poverty problem that we so desperately need.
Paying the Living Wage is a key part of this
strategy. Starting as a grassroots campaign 15 years ago,
there are now over 2700 accredited Living Wage employers
meaning that tens of thousands of low-paid workers have
been lifted out of poverty. As the JRF make clear, UK
poverty can only be solved by partners across business,
civil society, voluntary organisations and governments
working together to take action – we welcome this timely call
for Public Health
The link between poverty and health outcomes is well
established. We know that the social determinants of health
– the place where we live, who our parents are, the kind of
school we attend- has a massive bearing on our life and on
our health outcomes. For those living in poverty, optimising
health and wellbeing is often difficult as struggling financially
has an impact on an individual’s stress, anxiety and overall
mental and physical wellbeing . We also know (from our
Health on the High Street campaign) that those living in
more socially deprived areas have fewer healthy choices
available and are often situated in areas in which there is a
clustering of unhealthy businesses. We welcome JRF’s new
strategy and its commitment to reduce poverty across the
life course. Reducing poverty will ultimately improve the
nation’s health and wellbeing and will make us stronger and
more cohesive as a country.
Helen Dickinson OBE
JRF is to be congratulated for preparing the first long-term
comprehensive strategy to reduce poverty in the UK. Among
the series of recommendations lies the recognition of the
need to create better paid, better skilled jobs.
The report highlights the need to raise productivity in retail
industry - a subject close to my heart and one we at the
BRC have been working with our members on. It is perhaps
the biggest challenge facing retail and one to be navigated
over a period of unprecedented and accelerated change
for the industry. Tackling low pay is but one part of the
answer, but so too is the need to engage employees in
addressing the productivity challenges of their business,
creating a stronger link between training and progression,
and for employers to better personalise the employment
offer to the differing life needs of their employees.
This JRF research helps to put our work, and that of others,
in the context of a wider strategy that if embraced by all
players - and there are many - can deliver a knockout blow
to social-ills such as in-work poverty.
With millions of people in the UK still living in poverty, this
challenge should be at the top of our agenda. Many
voluntary organisations and volunteers work each day to
tackle the root causes and consequences of poverty. They
break down barriers into employment and also provide
support to people affected by challenges such as poor
mental health, homelessness, and substance abuse.
Nevertheless, we still have a long way to go.
The strategy to tackle poverty set out by the Joseph
Rowntree Foundation adopts a multifaceted and practical
approach to reduce the scale, severity, and duration of
poverty. It is unique in its comprehensiveness, highlighting
the need for different members of society to work together,
from government to philanthropists.
It is evident that the factors that cause and perpetuate
poverty are manifold, but with dedication and the willingness
to combine our efforts, we can make a real difference to the
lives of millions of people across the country.
Carnegie UK Trust
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s powerful challenge for
us all is to harness our country's considerable civic energy
and social ingenuity to all but eradicate poverty and despair.
The endeavour deserves the widest support. Their
thoughtful and evidence based strategy makes clear the
scale of the challenge that we face– but crucially, it offers a
compelling and ambitious route map for wholesale change.
Our social wellbeing is at stake.
The JRF rightly emphasise that there must be a renewed
focus on cross-sectoral work. Governments, civil society,
funders and business have to work together and trust each
other (as never before in peacetime) if meaningful and
sustainable social change is to happen. I am particularly
pleased that the strategy can tackle digital exclusion, low
paid work and our neglected towns. These are critical
priorities for the Carnegie UK Trust.
I am delighted to support the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s
bold ambition to solve poverty in the UK. I firmly believe
that businesses have a key role to play in tackling poverty
and improving our poorer communities.
To play our part as a responsible business, at Virgin Money
we are building a bank that aims to treat all customers fairly,
including those who may not have had easy access to the
banking system. We recently launched our basic bank
account, the Essential Current Account, a fair and simple
product that can help those who are struggling to get a bank
account. We also launched the Virgin Money Foundation,
a charity with ambitions to address some of the issues
highlighted in the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s report.
The Foundation supports the sustainable regeneration of
deprived areas through tackling homelessness, providing
young people with the support they need to gain
employment, and funding social enterprise initiatives that
work in areas of deprivation.
I’m proud of the part we are playing in the movement to
solve UK poverty and I applaud this important publication.
The publication of JRF’s compelling report provides a timely
reminder that poverty is a stressful reality for millions in the
UK. But it also acts as a collective call to action to confront
and defeat this stubborn foe.
We wholeheartedly agree that tackling poverty needs
a coordinated and determined approach involving multiple
bodies across all sectors. This report can, and must,
become a rallying call to any organisation or individual
who has the will and the resources to fight UK poverty.
There is much inspiring work already being done – our
collective response must be to combine better to make that
work as comprehensive and effective as possible.
New models of collaboration are needed and that will
require coordination and courage in equal measure.
Turn2us is already making common cause with a number of
like-minded organisations and groups to make that a reality.
I genuinely hope that one day we can look back on this
report as a positive watershed moment in the battle with
poverty. The prize on offer is a UK free of this scourge.
Imagine a country where our children can grow up happy,
safe and confident in the future; where homes are warm, dry
and affordable; where work is life-giving and life-enhancing;
and where people can still flourish and laugh in their old
age. For the majority of people in the UK, we don’t need
to imagine this – the dream, with the occasional knock back,
is reality. But for others – too many others – it sounds
fanciful and utterly impossible. It does not need to be.
It must not be.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation highlights the eye
watering economic cost of poverty in the UK – a staggering
£78bn every year – and gives powerful testimony to what
that means for those at the sharp end of our collective
failure to address its root causes. But the genuinely exciting
thing in this strategy is not simply its analysis of the
problems but its articulate and honest advocacy of the
potential solutions including, vitally, the involvement who
face the struggle against poverty on a daily basis.
Its recommendations are tangible and realistic but, like all
great achievements, they will require determination and
ATD Fourth World
It is imperative when speaking about poverty to reflect on the links between
poverty and justice...poverty and discrimination...poverty and prejudice and
poverty and hope: and I believe this resonates through the new piece of work by
This important in depth strategic plan underpins the multidimensional nature of
poverty and encouragingly sheds light on diverse ways to overcome poverty in
the UK. It makes it clear that poverty is unacceptable and that everyone at all
levels in society, governments, businesses, communities and citizens have a
responsibility and vital role to play in its eradication.
This strategy provides desperately needed recommendations for positive
societal change. The report echo's the voice of people in poverty and clear
efforts have been made to engage with people with an experience of poverty in
the process. One of the main obstacles in any anti-poverty strategy is
challenging the public perceptions of poverty, often based on the misleading
main-stream media agenda or lack of real experience and understanding of
This report stands as a challenge to the prevailing negative stereotypes of
people who experience poverty in the UK and can be a tool to counterbalance
these negative perceptions. It highlights the need to move away from blaming
and shaming people in poverty for their situation. It shows the need to involve
them in finding solutions and in leading constructive debates and dialogue on
A challenge we all should welcome is involving people in poverty in the
development of this important strategy, working together with them in a way
that they can feel a real sense of shared ownership, playing a vital role in the
process and in the strategy’s future impact.
It is vital that we work together to fight poverty for everyone
in society. At the EY Foundation we are especially
passionate about investing in those who are young and in
poverty who face increasingly precarious futures.
We strongly support the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s
(JRF) strategy to conquer poverty in the UK. Wherever they
live in the UK, young people at risk of poverty must be given
the right help to start their working lives. Quality careers
guidance combined with meaningful opportunities to
develop both workplace skills and an understanding of what
work is about are key in achieving this. Employers have an
essential role to play in this, above creating job opportunities
with prospects. This is why the EY Foundation's work with
employers and corporate partners is so important.
We will do everything we can to support this important area
of JRF’s strategy.
Whilst employment in the UK has remained steady in the
years following the recession, our economy faces significant
challenges. Productivity remains stubbornly flat and, in turn,
incomes are not advancing in many households.
One of the most commonly held assumptions since the
Second World War has been that people would grow up
better off than their parents and grandparents. Unless
something changes, that may no longer hold true. The
Joseph Rowntree Foundation's work provides an important
framework for understanding the challenges we see today,
and sets out a road map to improve living standards for
Over recent years, there has been a growing sense of
Britain becoming an “us and them” society, where whole
tracts of our country feel left behind. This is deeply
corrosive, socially and economically. Without a dramatic
change in how we approach issues of poverty and social
mobility, our nation risks becoming ever more divided.
We can stick with the entrenched views and failed strategies
of the past or we can take an honest and fresh look at the
social problems our country faces. The JRF’s poverty
strategy does just that. It offers a long-term vision and
approach which involves government, individuals,
communities, businesses and charities working together to
find real solutions.
“Britain is a rich and talented country, but it’s a stain on our
great nation that so many live in poverty. We need to make
a new start. We need to recognise the deep divisions within
our society and act to heal them. We can and should
become a country where the benefits of prosperity are
shared on a more equal basis.
The JRF strategy paper states, “a child born in a poor neighbourhood will die an
average of 9 years earlier than their peers.” This cannot be God’s doing, but
rather the consequence of human actions. Religious circles and free marketers
have often failed to identify the actual causes and therefore apportioned blame
elsewhere. If the right balance between markets and social conscience can be
obtained then society as a whole can change the situation. The post global
financial crisis era that we now live in has opened up an opportunity for society
to get this balance right again since raw neoliberalism has now been discredited.
The JRF has an admirable record of work in the field of poverty reduction in the
UK. It advocates poverty reduction in a realistic and meaningful way. Their
strategy paper on “We can Solve UK Poverty” does not indulge in idealism and
utopia, but rather builds on evidence based research and deep understanding of
the UK’s economy to advocate realisable strategies given the political will. The
report explores how the different stakeholders – national governments, local
governments, Employers, Businesses, Service Providers, Public Service
Providers, Housing Providers and Social Investors and Philanthropists – working
in tandem can make poverty history in a space of two to three decades.
This is indeed a worthy objective to work for. The Muslim Council of Britain is
acutely aware that the incidence of poverty falls disproportionately on the UK’s
Muslim communities and they suffer from a double penalty as most of the
communities are composed of ethnic minorities who are also then discriminated
against because of their faith. The MCB’s pioneering work on ‘Muslims in
Numbers’ based on analysis of the 2011 Census Data highlighted the scale of
the problem. This has been supplemented by recent work done by the
Runnymede Trust that has highlighted this double handicap with some analytical
research on the implications of the last two budgets on Muslims.
It is, therefore, critically important for the Muslim community to align with
organisations like the JRF to advance a worthy agenda. I have pleasure to
endorse the JRF strategy paper on Solving UK Poverty and assure them of the
MCB’s fullest co-operation in this regard.
The JRF report is a valuable contribution to the campaign
against poverty and highlights the need for action at many
levels. Every leading institution must play its part and unions
are impatient to contribute.
We know that pay is more equal when employers and
strong unions determine pay and conditions through
collective bargaining. Unions are keen to work with business
to improve productivity, raise the skill levels of people with
low qualifications and boost the earnings of low-paid
workers. Government must play its part too to tackle in-work
poverty, taking redistributive action including reversing the
Universal Credit cuts that are set to hit thousands of working
people in the next few years.
Lord Porter of
Recent economic and political change has led to some
uncertainty. It is more important than ever that we all understand
the pressures that are facing low income households at the
moment, as well as the opportunities available to them.
Councils have a key role to play in coordinating services to
support families who are already in or, are at risk of poverty.
Secure housing that is both affordable and appropriate to their
needs is vital as is access to a good education, employment,
family support services, benefits advice and public health
Resources are tight so we must be able to target and integrate
our support and interventions effectively. Strong local leadership
is necessary to do this as well as to our ability to grow our local
economies and give all local people a stake in their community.
This timely and important piece of work from JRF will, I hope,
give us the opportunity to identify and learn from the great deal
of excellent practice that is already happening in local areas. It
should also allow us to better understand the risks and barriers
for low income households, and inform future policy
development at both the national and local level.
Liz Sayce OBE
Disability Rights UK
I think it sets a powerful agenda which I sincerely hope will
be taken forward.
Bringing the role of the state together with the role of the
market and individuals is absolutely right.
The evidence, analysis and recommendations are strong -
and I welcome the call for more and better part-time jobs –
this is important for disabled people as well as others - as
well as the recognition that sometimes other things are
more important in life than employment. It is great to have
all these arguments and this evidence together.
The Most Reverend
Dr John Sentamu
Archbishop of York
Poverty is real but not inevitable. We must tackle its
underlying causes. In the Beveridge Report of 1942,
Beveridge spoke of ‘five giants that had to be slain on the
road to post-war reconstruction’ – Want, Disease,
Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness. In our time we need to
slay the giant of Income Inequality – no-one in a particular
region, social class, or ethnic group – no young people
anywhere should grow up without equal access to the
opportunities of education, training, and paid employment
that does not pay poverty wages.
In our Churches we are committed to standing alongside
people seeking to break out of poverty - through debt advice
and budgeting courses, through self-help groups, and a host
of initiatives which empower leaders, strengthen community,
and offer opportunities for growth and human flourishing.
But without real, careful, targeted policy change at national
level such measures would just be ‘sticking plaster’
solutions. The UK needs a comprehensive, long-term, multi-
faceted strategy to reduce poverty in a sustainable way,
rooted in cross-party consensus. This report helps to point
I am delighted that the Joseph Rowntree Foundation are
launching a new and radical strategy to tackle UK poverty.
Our country is at a crucial point in its history, and the right
response requires all of us to be generous, compassionate
and absolutely clear about the values that drive us towards
a society built on the common good and a commitment
to human flourishing for all people.
Jesus Christ is unequivocal in his example, his teaching, his
death and resurrection, that we are to love and to serve the
poor. This new strategy is so significant because it
recognises that what is required is a holistic and inclusive
approach to tackling poverty. It requires every sector, every
institution, every community and every person to be
involved in the response.
I warmly welcome its publication and encourage as many
people as possible to respond to the call to end poverty
in the UK.
Brett Wigdortz OBE
Founder and CEO
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s anti-poverty strategy
is a serious and ambitious attempt to grapple with the
enormous range of issues that influence poverty.
It is clear we need sustained action from charities,
business and government on this agenda.
One of the most important issues this report covers is
education. Too often disadvantage still determines destiny,
in education and life chances. At Teach First we’ve always
been clear that we cannot tackle this on our own.
I’m delighted to see valuable recommendations on early
intervention and getting great teachers to areas of
I hope this report will continue to inspire collective action
on how we as a society can end educational inequality.
Business in the
and Director of
Business in the
Scotland is a country in which there are vibrant, diverse
businesses driving economic growth through internal and
foreign investment. As these businesses grow they are
creating new jobs but their success is not shared by all. One
fifth of our population and nearly a quarter of a million of our
children live in poverty and it's getting worse. The impact on
social cohesion is significant and widening inequality has an
equally serious impact on businesses and on our economy.
Against a back drop of a stable working age population,
current skills shortages, market uncertainty following
BREXIT and an increasingly digital economy, Scotland
needs everyone to contribute to and benefit from shared
economic growth because successful business and
successful society are two sides of the same coin, one
cannot succeed without the other.
It simply makes good sense to ensure that the profits which
come from good business are used to ensure future, quality
labour market supply rather than being ever more
concentrated in the hands of the few, at the ultimate cost of
the economy as a whole. BITC Scotland's Ready for Work
programme is one such contribution to achieving inclusive
growth. We welcome JRF’s ambitious and
strategic proposals which underpin our own in creating a
fairer and healthier Scotland.