London Challenge Poverty Week took place between 11 – 17 October 2021 for its fourth year, marked by a greater ambition and reach than ever before. As a supporter of the initiative and co-ordinated by our grantee 4in10, we look back at work from the Trust and our grantees released in the week, highlighting projects which will help to build the momentum needed for real action to end poverty in London.
This year's London Challenge Poverty Week came at a critical time as we begin to account for the impact of the pandemic on poverty in London.
Whilst media attention to poverty in London has also grown, driven in part by the “levelling up” agenda, the recent cut to universal credit and the rising cost of living show that we must use this spotlight to demand transformative change. London Challenge Poverty Week showcased the power of uniting grassroots organisations, experts-by-experience and civil society to achieve that change.
As we now look back over the week, we must ensure that we keep up the momentum and maintain pressure on policymakers to alleviate and eliminate poverty, particularly following the government spending review this month.
What and who does London look like to you, and what would people like to see changed? The Trust reached out to our grantees and put together a collection of stories and images from ordinary Londoners, finding out what challenges they face and what needs to be done to make life better. Each story can be found in text or audio form on our site, with a selection of images accompanying them. Those featured talked about their struggles finding secure work, good training opportunities, facing discrimination and building communities, as well as the support our grantees provided that helped them. We hope to continue adding stories to the project, developing a complete snapshot of the people, challenges, and causes for hope in our city.
How worried should we be that the Government’s ‘levelling-up’ agenda will have a negative effect on Londoners living in poverty? Our Chief Executive Manny Hothi considers this question as he makes the case for why we must ensure low-income Londoners do not lose out in an era of levelling up in his latest blog post. Manny considers how London is beginning to experience a “levelling down” as government funding declines, despite the reality that London has the highest rate of poverty of any region in the country. He argues that we need to work in unison with the rest of the country, national government and business to address London’s poverty crisis
We've been producing and updating London's Poverty Profile with our partner WPI Economics since 2019, presenting data on a range of poverty and inequality indicators. Matthew Oakley, Director of WPI Economics, talked us through some of the latest borough level updates added to the site for London Challenge Poverty Week. Matthew highlights how our latest data, which can be accessed through a borough comparison tile and deep-dives into individual boroughs on our site, shows stark inequality between boroughs across homelessness, life expectancy and more.
The Commission on Social Security, funded by Trust for London, held an exclusive preview of their final proposals for a better social security system ahead of their full launch early next year. Led by experts-by-experience, the Commission is focused on addressing the failures of the current social system through clear solutions. Proposals discussed at the event included a Guaranteed Decent Income to meet the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Minimum Income Standard, a new approach to disability benefits and increased Child Benefit. You can see the event in full on Youtube, or check out our live tweets from the event.
Our grantee 4in10, alongside the Greater London Authority, released their report Flying Against Gravity – The Lived Reality of Poverty in London. Community polling conducted for the report found that Londoners increasingly feel that they are not listened to by politicians and policymakers about the challenge of meeting the basic cost of living, with 85% feeling that politicians should be doing more to reduce poverty in London. Many participants felt that navigating employment, childcare, welfare, housing and everyday costs was increasingly difficult, with childcare, cost of living and low paid work believed to be the main causes of poverty.
The Childhood Trust, in partnership with the London Child Poverty Alliance convened by the Trust, held the third London Child Poverty Summit, featuring presentations, panels and debate on the impact of child poverty and how to tackle it. Speakers at the event included our grantees, such as Shelter, whose work on homelessness in London is funded by the Trust, and our Chief Executive Manny Hothi, who chaired the Summit’s panel on Poverty and Income. You can read more about the event on The Childhood Trust’s website, or take a look at some of our tweets from the event.
Our grantee, Child Poverty Action Group UK, released their report London Calling: “stretched too far” based on the views and experiences shared by parents and young people in London. The report considered the main impediments to a better quality of life for children and families on a low income and the impact of the pandemic, with panellists identifying serious challenges in three areas: childcare and after-school provision, living costs, and social security. Lack of affordability and support was common across these areas, each of which were worsened by the pandemic, with proposed changes for the future including reversing the £20 Universal Credit cut and greater support from the state.
For more London Challenge Poverty Week 2021 highlights, visit the dedicated website, updated by 4in10.
25 October 2021