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Framing of poverty in the UK

Fran Bennett - Associate Fellow, Department of Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford - assesses JRF's framing strategy in relation to alternative approaches to public debates about poverty. She also reflects on other initiatives now being developed.

Date published:

In the past few years JRF, with other anti-poverty organisations, has been engaged in a deliberate exercise of framing poverty in a specific way, with a view to maximising public support for anti-poverty policies. This has been undertaken with the FrameWorks Institute, and is about tapping into shared values of compassion and justice and doing the morally right thing, in order to trigger productive conversations; focusing communications on explaining the structural drivers of poverty; and discussing concrete solutions to make a tangible difference.

The initiative has recently been evaluated, and the report ‘Talking about Poverty: Lessons Learnt’ (JRF and Rights Evaluation Studio, 2023) has been published, and discussed at a launch in early 2023. This briefing complements that report, does not take evidence from it, and investigates the justification for the framing of poverty in the Talking about Poverty project, and the assumptions which underlie it. The views are those of the author, and are not necessarily shared by JRF.