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A new measure of poverty for the UK: Why and how?

Matthew Oakley, Director of WPI Economics, discusses the new measure of poverty introduced by the Social Metrics Commission in 2016.

  • 16 Apr 2019, 1.15pm to 16 Apr 2019, 2.45pm BST (GMT +01:00)
  • 6 East, 2.2, University of Bath
  • This event is free
A picture of graphs on a sheet of paper
How should we measure poverty in the UK?

The last 20 years have seen significant political and policy debate over how and whether to measure poverty. The Social Metrics Commission was established in 2016 to cut through that debate and develop a measure of poverty for the UK that could gain support from the widest range of experts, politicians, practitioners and academics. The Commission launched its new measure of poverty in Autumn 2018, with endorsements from a range of charities, politicians and academics.

The session will provide overview of the work of the Commission, including methodology and results and then discuss:

  1. Why the measure improves our understanding of poverty
  2. The practical implications of the measurement framework that has been developed
  3. How others in the UK might adopt it
  4. What it says about how poverty should or could be measured internationally

It will also outline ongoing work to improve the measure, and how participants can support that goal.

Speaker profiles

Matthew Oakley is Director of WPI Economics and leads the Secretariat for the Social Metrics Commission. Before founding WPI Economics, Matthew held a number of roles including Chief Economist and Head of Financial Services Policy at the consumer champion Which?, and Head of Economics and Social Policy at the think tank Policy Exchange.

Matthew also led the Independent Review of Jobseeker’s Allowance sanctions that reported to Parliament in 2014, and previously spent eight years at the Treasury. Alongside WPI, Matthew is also a Senior Researcher at the Social Market Foundation.


6 East, 2.2 University of Bath Claverton Down Bath BA2 7AY United Kingdom


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