Philippa Stroud, CEO, responds to Budget 2020

“Budget 2020 lays the foundations for an anti-poverty strategy that could help level-up economic and social outcomes right across the UK.”

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

Published 12 Mar 2020

A range of announcements in the Chancellor’s first Budget have paved the way for a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy, which will be central to the Government’s ambitions to level up the economy and improve prosperity for all UK citizens.

The Legatum Institute welcomes measures in the Budget that seek to protect families at risk of or living in poverty from the economic fallout from COVID-19, and the range of measures on education, health, family support, affordable housing, rough sleeping, productivity, and pay that stand to lay the foundations for reducing poverty levels in the future.

The impact of these policies could be significant. For example, modelling by the Legatum Institute shows that if rental costs in the private and social rented sectors were to be one percentage point lower than earnings growth in the next five years, there would be 240,000 fewer people in poverty in 2024/25 than if rental costs increase in line with earnings.

Improving education, health services, and family support are also crucial to tackling poverty, because we know that:

  • A third (34%) of people in poverty live in families where an adult has poor self-reported mental health;
  • Nearly one in five (18%) of those in poverty live in a family where no adults have any formal qualification; and
  • More than half (53%) of people in lone-parent families are in poverty.

The next step would be to use these foundations to create a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy that can then be used to tackle poverty and level up outcomes right across the UK.

Responding to the Budget, Philippa Stroud, CEO of the Legatum Institute, said:

“Budget 2020 lays the foundations for an anti-poverty strategy that could help level-up economic and social outcomes right across the UK.

“Central to the Chancellor’s announcements are policies that reduce the risk of the economic fallout from COVID-19 pushing families into poverty in the coming months. In the longer term, announcements on housing affordability, education, debt, health, pay, and productivity could prove significant for poverty reduction.

“We now want to see the Government take this to the next level by introducing a comprehensive cross-departmental anti-poverty strategy. This needs to focus on reducing poverty rates and the depth and persistence of poverty across the UK, as well as tackling the resilience gap faced by many families in poverty.”

Download the Legatum Institute’s Response to Budget 2020.

  • You can read the Legatum Institute’s Pre-Budget Briefing on poverty in the UK here.