Overcoming disadvantage: An agenda for the next 20 years

Nicholas Timmins, IPPR, Social Market Foundation, Policy Exchange, Scottish Council Foundation and Institute of Welsh Affairs

Five leading think-tanks offer long-term policy prescriptions for tackling disadvantage.

How can we overcome poverty and social exclusion in the next 20 years? To mark its centenary year, the Foundation commissioned five leading think-tanks to offer long-term policy prescriptions for tackling disadvantage. Authors from the IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research), the Social Market Foundation and Policy Exchange represent a range of views. Chapters from the Scottish Council Foundation and the Institute of Welsh Affairs examine poverty issues from their perspectives.

Overcoming disadvantage follows on from the Foundation’s Tackling disadvantage: A 20-year enterprise, published in 2003. This working paper concluded that – even given the enormity of the task – sufficient political will could bring about progressive reductions in poverty. The five think-tank essays underline the feasibility of a sustained programme for overcoming poverty, suggesting new approaches for policy makers to consider. Their essays offer a wealth of contrasting and innovative ideas. Some big political themes leave the authors divided. But, as Nicholas Timmins, Public Policy Editor of the Financial Times, observes in an introduction and overview, the chances of an agreement about aims, if not means, seem higher than for many years.

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