Ashwin Kumar joins the Joseph Rowntree Foundation as Chief Economist

The independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has appointed Ashwin Kumar as its first Chief Economist, to lead the organisation’s new Analysis Unit.

Ashwin’s arrival will help ensure JRF can offer insightful and timely economic analysis and commentary on issues affecting the worst off people and places, whose plight has been thrown into the spotlight following the EU referendum.

Ashwin brings 18 years of experience in economics and social policy gained in the public, private and charity sectors. He joins the team from Liverpool Economics, a Merseyside-based economics consultancy which specialises in public policy, labour markets, consumer issues and taxation.

Prior to this he worked as a Senior Economic Adviser at the Department of Work and Pensions, and as Rail Passenger Director at Passenger Focus. Ashwin also brings expertise in housing as a board member of St Mungo’s homelessness charity, the New Charter housing group and the National Housing Federation.

JRF’s Analysis Unit launched in January 2016. It researches and analyses data on how social, economic and public policy changes are affecting people and places in poverty.

Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of JRF, said:

“I’m delighted to welcome Ashwin to lead our new Analysis Unit. The result of the EU referendum shows that many of those who live in less wealthy areas of the UK have felt shut out from economic growth, and the UK cannot afford to return to business as usual. We must ensure prosperity is shared by all.

“As the financial crisis showed, the fortunes of the economy impacts profoundly on those on low incomes, so Ashwin’s arrival opens a new front in the scope and breath of our analysis on these major issues. Ashwin’s expertise in housing, employment, tax and living costs will help us to shine a light on the issues that are preventing  millions of people in the UK from finding a way out of poverty.”

Ashwin Kumar, Chief Economist at JRF, said:

“I am extremely pleased to join JRF at this important time. The need to tackle poverty in the UK has never been more acute. Despite high employment and strong jobs growth, poverty levels have barely shifted over the last decade. I look forward to working with my new colleagues and building on the organisation’s considerable work to highlight the causes of poverty in the UK and provide evidence on the solutions