We can solve poverty in the UK - Launch event

Central London
Tuesday 06 September 2016 -
10:00 to 12:00

Leaders from national and local governments, business and communities came together to discuss out how we can work together to create a prosperous society built on decent living standards and opportunities for everyone to fulfil their potential.

Follow our progress #solveukpoverty

The event which was filmed will be available for download on Friday 9 September 2016.


Cliff Prior CBE speaking at the event

Julia Unwin CBE speaking at the event


Programme of events


Dr Tony Stoller CBE, Chair of Trustees, Joseph Rowntree Foundation


Chair’s opening remarks

Anne McElvoy, Journalist for The Economist, the London Evening Standard and Broadcaster  


A strategy to solve poverty in the UK

Julia Unwin CBE, Chief Executive, Joseph Rowntree Foundation


Citizens and communities tackling poverty

Mary Brennan, Testifier, Leeds Poverty Truth Commission, introduced by Dr Emma Stone, Director of Policy & Research, Joseph Rowntree Foundation


Where next in the fight against poverty in the UK

Dame Louise Casey DBE CB, Director General, DCLG
Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of the Local Government Association Labour Group and Senior Vice Chair of the LGA
Chris Goulden, Deputy Director of Policy & Research, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Alan Mak, Conservative MP for Havant and Treasurer for APPG on Poverty
Ian Rayson, Director of Corporate Communications, Nestlé UK


Fair by design: Making life affordable

Cliff Prior CBE, Chief Executive, Big Society Capital


Closing remarks

Julia Unwin CBE, Chief Executive, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

12:00pm End of Conference


Julia Unwin CBE

Julia has been Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust since 2007.

She was a member of the Housing Corporation Board for 10 years and a Charity Commissioner from 1998-2003. Julia was also Deputy Chair of the Food Standards Agency and worked as an independent consultant, for 15 years, operating within government and the voluntary and corporate sectors. She has researched and written extensively on issues relating to philanthropy, the voluntary sector, and its relationship with government and has written several books, the most recent of which is entitled “Why Fight Poverty?” which was published in November 2013.

She previously held a position as chair of the Refugee Council from 1995 until 1998, and is currently a member of the University of York’s Council, where she is a Pro – Chancellor and a Governor of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.  In 2010 Julia was awarded the Outstanding Leadership Award in the Charity Awards and was awarded a Fellowship of the City and Guilds of London Institute in June 2012. 

Julia chairs the Institute for Social Renewal advisory board at the University of Newcastle as well as being a member of the Advisory Board for Policy Scotland, at the University of Glasgow. Julia is also on the advisory board of the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge. In January 2016 Julia was appointed as an independent Non-Executive Director of Mears Group Plc.

She has Honorary Doctorates from the University of South Wales and from York St John University, and in 2016 was made a Provincial Canonry by the Archbishop of York.

Dr Tony Stoller CBE

Tony is Chair of Trustees for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust.

A media historian and a visiting professor at Bournemouth University, Faculty of Media and Communications, he has recently published a history of Independent Radio in the UK, Sounds of Your Life. He was Chief Executive of The Radio Authority until it was subsumed into Ofcom in 2003, where he helped to set up the new regulator. He is Chair of Winchester Action on Climate Change, and editor of The Friends Quarterly.

Anne McElvoy

Anne McElvoy, Journalist for The Economist, the London Evening Standard and Broadcaster.

Dr Emma Stone

Emma is Director of Policy and Research at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust. 

Emma began her JRF career in 1998, managing programmes on disability, and subsequently on immigration and inclusion. Emma represents JRF at relevant fora about the role of research in inspiring social change and informing policy and practice.

Before joining JRF in 1998, Emma was a contract researcher for the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Leeds and completed a PhD on 'Disability and Development in China' (having previously done Chinese as an undergraduate followed by a Masters in International Development Studies).

Outside JRF, Emma retains her interests in international development as a Trustee of Y Care International and of DORS:  Development Organisation for Rural Sichuan.

Mary Brennan

Mary is a Testifier for Leeds Poverty Truth Commission.

Dame Louise Casey DBE CB

Over the last 17 years Dame Louise has been instrumental in the development of a number of bespoke social policy programmes for Government. Drawing on her experiences leading homeless charity Shelter, Dame Louise has consistently delivered brave and innovative solutions to long standing social problems ranging from homelessness to anti-social behaviour to troubled families.

Throughout this, Dame Louise has maintained her commitment to the charity sector and has been a driving force in the establishment of the Institute for Global Homelessness, with the aim of delivering an international solution to homelessness across the world.

At the request of the Prime Minister, she is now leading a review into opportunity and integration in some of our most isolated communities.

Louise was awarded the Companion of the Order of Bath (CB) in the Queen’s birthday honours list, 2008 and made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the Queen’s birthday honours list, 2016.

Cllr Nick Forbes

Nick became Leader of the Local Government Association Labour Group in February 2016, representing the views of more than 6000 Labour Councillors and 371 Labour groups in Westminster, giving local government a strong voice in challenging times, alongside a higher profile in policy and campaigns nationally.

He is currently Senior Vice Chair of the LGA.

He was became Leader of Newcastle City Council in 2011 and used his group’s victory that year to focus the council on social justice and job creation. Cllr Forbes is committed to tackling inequality and prejudice and is determined Newcastle will become a better, fairer place under his leadership.

Chris Goulden

Chris is Deputy Director of Policy and Research at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. He is a former social researcher at the Home Office and Cabinet Office.

Chris has also been a cancer researcher in the NHS, a member of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills Policy Expert Group and a member of the Social Research Association Board.

He has a MSc in social research methods from South Bank University.

Alan Mak MP

Before his election, Alan served as President and Trustee of Magic Breakfast, Britain’s leading school breakfast club charity fighting poverty and hunger in underprivileged communities. Magic Breakfast was 10 Downing Street Charity of the Year and winner of the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award.

Alan was selected to carry the London 2010 Olympic Torch in recognition of his work. In Parliament, he is Treasurer of the APPG on Poverty, a member of the Party’s Compassionate Conservatives Caucus, and a strong advocate of life chances and social mobility.

Ian Rayson

Ian is the Corporate Communications Director, Nestlé UK & Ireland and joined Rowntree plc in 1988 as Communications Manager and joined Nestle following the takeover of Rowntree in the same year.

He became Corporate Communications Manager for Nestlé UK & Ireland in 1993 and subsequently held a range of positions for the company including Head of Public Affairs and Head of Media Relations.

In 2002 he set up his own communications consultancy before re-joining Nestlé in 2005 as Corporate Communications Director.

He is a Board Director of Nestle UK & Ireland, a Trustee of the British Nutrition Foundation, and represents Nestle in the Food & Drink Federation.

Cliff Prior CBE

Cliff took up the leadership of Big Society Capital in March 2016. Prior to that he was CEO of UnLtd, the UK Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, for the last nine years. UnLtd has supported 13,000 people to start new social ventures, with cash, coaching and connections, and backs people from start-up to investment readiness and major impact.

Before UnLtd, Cliff was CEO of Rethink, the charity for people affected by severe mental illness, which is both a mass membership campaigning charity and a major provider of mental health services to the NHS and local authorities. His earlier career includes work in counselling, youth, civil rights campaigning, social housing, supported housing, community care, offender resettlement, learning disability, dementia, research and development, and mental health.

Cliff is also a founding trustee of Clore Social Leadership, a non-exec at health innovation agency UCLPartners, and member of Comic Relief’s UK Grants Committee. He also chaired the mission alignment group for the G8 Social Impact Investment Taskforce. He has been an adviser to Government on health and medicines regulation, NHS modernisation, skills, and civil society. He has set up several ventures over four decades of work in the social sector.