The Society We Want, a report based on 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.
Click here to download the report.
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 on March 2, 2015 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
In his blog post published on http://newstartmag.co.uk/, Barry Knight, author of the report said:
“It is clear that we need new perspective, energy and agency if we are to make progress. So, where is this going to come from? How can we think about the roles of civil society, business and government in addressing poverty creatively while being mindful of the background realities and finances that constrain what can be done? How can we plan to get the society we want? How can we mobilise people to think about this creatively? These are questions that the Trust will address in the next stage of its work.”
These questions raised by Knight are critical for the feild of philanthopy, particularly those foundations that are working to end inequality in the UK and elsewhere in the world.