The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has stated its belief that people and places in poverty must be protected during this period of austerity. It has launched a new microsite to provide evidence for informing the debate on public spending in the run-up to the October Spending Review and beyond.
Decisions about spending cuts should consider the impact on disadvantaged people and communities, and the site www.jrf.org.uk/public-spending , will provide evidence, ideas and solutions, highlighting the importance of protecting the most vulnerable in our society. Visitors to the site will also be able to test their knowledge of poverty in the UK by taking part in an interactive quiz at http://povertyquiz.jrf.org.uk
As well as pulling together relevant existing research, the JRF is investing in new evidence to make sure there is an accurate understanding of the effect of cuts and changes to the welfare state and other forms of support for those on low incomes. Early next month, the Foundation will publish new research by New Policy Institute analysing working-age benefits and the impact of changes on these. It has also funded the Institute for Fiscal Studies to forecast the impact of fiscal policy on future levels of child poverty and on levels of poverty among those without children and to look at their prospects in 2015 and beyond.
JRF's Director of Communications, Julia Lewis, said today: “The big challenge after the recession is to build a more socially just economy: one that protects people from poverty and helps people find ways out of it. We need a welfare system and labour market which create lasting routes out of poverty.
“We will be publishing evidence and ideas to help decision-makers make choices that result in a better long term future for those on low incomes. We are determined to do all we can to ensure that the poorest people and places do not bear the brunt of the budget deficit."
She concluded: “While there is much focus on the short to medium-term impact of public expenditure decisions, the JRF is also concerned with their long-term impact on the most disadvantaged and the society we want to become. We will continue to add to the site post-October and will use the forecasting from the IFS and other JRF research to keep a spotlight on this vital issue.”