Our CEO gives evidence to Parliament’s Work and Pensions Committee on the SMC’s new measure of UK poverty

For too long, much of the political and policy debate on poverty has focussed on whether and how we should measure poverty, rather than the action needed to drive better outcomes for the most disadvantaged in our society.

A commentary for the Social Metrics Commission programme by Baroness Philippa Stroud

Published 16 Jan 2019

For too long, much of the political and policy debate on poverty has focussed on whether and how we should measure poverty, rather than the action needed to drive better outcomes for the most disadvantaged in our society.

In September 2018, the Social Metrics Commission (SMC) launched a new measure of poverty in the UK. Legatum Institute CEO and Chair of the SMC Philippa Stroud tells the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee why the new measure is the most authoritative measure of poverty in the UK today.

You can watch the evidence session here.

You can find out more about the work of the SMC here.

The new measure accounts for the negative impact on people’s weekly income of inescapable costs such as childcare and the impact that disability has on people’s needs; and includes the positive impacts of being able to access liquid assets such as savings, to alleviate immediate poverty. The Commission’s metric also takes the first steps to including groups of people previously omitted from poverty statistics, like those living on the streets and those in overcrowded housing.

The metric is also positioned within a wider framework that helps us to see a more detailed picture of exactly who is poor, and the range of factors that can detrimentally impact on their lives, their experience of poverty and their future chances of remaining in, or entering poverty. This is the first time that all of these ideas have been brought together into a coherent framework for poverty measurement, which can be applied to existing UK data.