We are in the midst of a profound cost-of-living crisis with huge implications for our society. Many of us are having to make difficult choices on what spending we prioritise, but some of us face increasingly bleak choices. Around one in five of our population (20%) were in poverty in 2020/21 - that's 13.4 million people. This should not be the case in a country as wealthy as the UK.
Join Tom Clark, editor of a new book, Broke: Fixing Britain’s Poverty Crisis, as he leads a panel discussion about the scale of poverty, its impact and consequences, and the inequality in Britain today.
Tom Clark's book is supported by the JRF, with royalties going to the Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network.
Presented in collaboration with The Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
About the speakers
Helen Barnard is Director of Policy, Research and Impact at the Trussell Trust. She was formerly Director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Research and Policy Director at Pro Bono Economics. She is a leading national expert on poverty, inequality and social policy. Her extensive body of research and policy work have covered poverty, destitution, labour markets, housing, social security and civil society. She is the author of Want (Giants: A New Beveridge Report), which examines modern-day poverty and the institutions and reforms required to address it.
Ruth Patrick is a senior lecturer in social policy at the University of York. She leads the Changing Realities research programme, which is working in partnership with parents and carers to document life on a low-income and to push for change. She also leads research on the impact of the two-child limit and benefit cap on larger families, and recently worked in collaboration with Universal Credit claimants in Northern Ireland to develop the first ever co-produced guide to the benefit. Ruth is the author of For Whose Benefit: The Everyday Realities of Welfare Reform and co-author of A Year Like No Other: Life on a Low Income During Covid-19.
Sally R is a participant in the Changing Realities research programme. She is a single mother to three young boys. In June 2020, after the first lockdown, her employer decided to re-structure, and she lost her job of 30 years under very unexpected and traumatic circumstances. The sudden loss of a job that she loved caused Sally R severe mental health illness. She is now in recovery from mental health illness, and still suffers from anxiety and depression. Last month she successfully managed to become employed by a charity as a Project Worker for 2 days a week to support people with learning disabilities. The rest of the week she works as a Community Interpreter in 3 Languages for The Public Sector.
Tom Clark is a Fellow at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and a Contributing Editor at Prospect, the magazine he edited from 2016 to 2021. Prior to that he spent 10 years at the Guardian, where he eventually became chief leader writer. He also worked on public policy in Whitehall after starting out his career at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, where his research centred on poverty and inequality.