Strategies against poverty: A shared road map

Donald Hirsch

A summary of some of the challenges for tackling disadvantage over the next 20 years.

The persistence of poverty and disadvantage in a generally prosperous country causes immense damage. But how can strategies to combat these social ills be sustained for long enough to succeed?

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has consulted widely on the directions such strategies should be taking. This report - written for the Foundation’s centenary conference in December 2004 - presents five simple challenges underlying a long-term, shared strategy. These combine a concern to enable individuals to escape poverty with a recognition of the significance of how people’s prospects and opportunities are affected by the places where they live, especially in the most deprived communities.

The report identifies some simple measures that will tell us - by 2025 - both whether overall progress has been made and the extent to which the wide differences between places have been reduced. It argues for the building of a new consensus around such basic objectives. Above all, this will require the case for tackling poverty to be put more forcefully, convincing the public that poverty in our society harms us all.