The Society We Want

Posted on 01 Mar 2015   Categories: Publications Related Tags:  

Research commissioned by the Webb Memorial Trust by leading pollster YouGov on attitudes to poverty in the UK has shown the qualities that people most treasured were social ones such as fairness, security, safety, freedom, compassion and tolerance. Economic indicators mattered far less.

From a list of 17 key components of a good society identified in pilot research, the highest economic indicator ‘well paid work’ was ranked sixth, while ‘prosperity’ came twelfth.

The research forms a key plank of the WMT`s report, launched today at a cross-party conference in central London, which responds to the question “what does a society without poverty look like?” Answers are drawn from population studies, a manifesto created by children and young people, and Trust-commissioned research projects.

The findings of this in-depth report are:

  • There is currently no shared understanding or perspective on poverty, its causes or its solutions leading to the debate around poverty becoming ‘angry and fruitless’
  • Traditional actors in society that have the potential to address poverty are in serious retreat. Local authorities face year-on-year cuts, the voluntary sector is in survivalist mode, and the infrastructure that once supported community development has been swept away
  • Persistent repetition of bad news and framing the poverty debate in negative terms means that people turn off from the problem, thinking that ‘this is too big for me to deal with’
  • Rather than beginning with the problem, we should identify the solution we want and put our efforts into obtaining it
  • The key question is what kind of society do we want?
  • In a survey of 10,000 adults commissioned by the Webb Memorial Trust, the qualities that people most treasured were social ones such as fairness, security, safety, freedom, compassion and tolerance.  Economic indicators mattered far less.
  • From a list of 17 key components of a good society identified in pilot research, the highest economic indicator ‘well paid work’ was ranked sixth, while ‘prosperity’ came twelfth.
  • Young people identified six key principles to tackle poverty: a minimum standard of income, an equal school experience for all, affordable decent homes for everyone, access to three healthy meals a day, a feeling of safety at home and in communities, and affordable transport.
  • The results suggest that we need new perspective, energy and agency if we are to make progress in tackling poverty

 

Barry Knight, author of the report said:

“What was most important to people in our study is not what politicians are talking about. Fairness, security, safety, freedom, compassion and tolerance all ranked higher than economic indicators when it came to what a good society should look like. This report aims to move beyond the current ‘angry and fruitless’ debate about poverty and to begin the conversation about what the society we want really looks like.”

Posted on 01 Mar 2015   Categories: Publications Related Tags: