Poverty, Inequality & Welfare: Improving Civic Representation and Public Understanding

Dr Daniel Edmiston

School of Sociology and Social Policy

Responsive Mode Impact Fund

Despite substantial increases in poverty and inequality over the past three decades, the general public remain notably ambivalent towards redistribution and social policy intervention in the UK. This ambivalence has been linked to the under-representation of those living in poverty throughout civic and political life; and enduring misconceptions surrounding the effectiveness, costs and recipients of ‘welfare’ (Patrick, 2017; Edmiston, 2018). With that in mind, this project seeks to a) enhance opportunities and conditions for the civic representation and participation of those living in poverty and b) improve public understandings of welfare, poverty and inequality in the process.

To achieve these objectives, this project will be undertaken in close collaboration with Leeds Poverty Truth Commission (LPTC) to bring together a range of ‘poverty experts through experience’ and civil society stakeholders from across Leeds. Through a series of events that capitalise on the expertise and experience of LPTC and the findings of recently published research, participants will co-produce a range of materials. These outputs will be used to:

  • Help LPTC safeguard the momentum of their initiative across Leeds by offering a number of resources and recommendations directed towards Leeds City Council, key actors involved in the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Inclusive Growth Programme, and civil society organisations;
  • Support the activities of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s ‘Learning Project’ and learning facilitation team which seeks to generate broader lessons about the Poverty Truth initiative and what can be done to foreground marginalised citizens in a way that contributes towards ‘social change tackling poverty’ nationally; and

Improve understandings of poverty, inequality and welfare amongst the UK general public.