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Poverty reduction policy on Lords agenda

23 February 2024

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On Thursday 22 February, members of the House of Lords debated the case for aligning poverty reduction policymaking across government. 


Lord Bird (Crossbench), co-founder of The Big Issue magazine, put forward the debate. 

This is a general debate. During debates, members put their experience to good use to discuss current issues and draw the government's attention to concerns.     

Members speaking

Members speaking in the debate included:

Opening the debate, Lord Bird said:

'In my opinion, poverty is the background to everything…Our prisons are full of people who never got a fair crack of the whip at birth—and I am one of them.

'In the intervention of state governments and charities—and personal intervention from the public—80% of all the poverty money was spent on emergency and coping, with very little spent on prevention and cure.

'My [private member’s] bill calls for the creation of a ministry for poverty prevention.'

Viscount Younger of Leckie (Conservative), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, responded on behalf of the government:

'Tackling these complex underlying challenges cannot be done in isolation. This government have a range of programmes that work across departmental boundaries to help people to address the challenges they face, so that they can take their first steps towards employment and better outcomes for themselves and their families.'

Catch up

Watch and read the debate

Explore background information

Find out more about the issues the debate covers in the House of Lords Library briefing.

Learn more about how the House of Lords checks and challenges government.

House of Lords Podcast

Lord Bird discussed campaigning in the Lords for a new way to deal with the problem of poverty on the House of Lords Podcast. Listen now.

Image: House of Lords / Roger Harris

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