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Put poverty prevention at the heart of the general election – challenge your candidate to back The Big Issue's manifesto

This period of incredible political flux shows no sign of settling. June’s snap General Election announcement caught everybody on the hop. It won’t be until mid-May that the political parties publish their manifestos. In the meantime, they talk of extra holidays, copy each other’s plans for energy bill caps and argue about NOT doing live TV debates.

There is a fear that voter fatigue and poll apathy will keep people from engaging. It’s understandable. While we live in a time of change with so many elections and referendums – out of Westminster and from devolved seats of power – it’s hard to see the effect of good governance. Everything is about getting there, rather than the things that need to happen when they arrive.

THIS is the time to really make a difference

However, to not engage is a mistake. THIS is the time to really make a difference. While Brexit remains the flag under which this election sails, there are many problems that need addressed – including around poverty, health, social care, education, literacy, housing and pay equality.


Focus, inevitably, will sharpen on how much the main parties will spend on these issues. But at The Big Issue we have been advocating a new approach. We believe that rather than funnel ever-decreasing resources at the problems once they’ve grown, we should learn ways to nip these problems in the bud and prevent them from happening in the first place. The prevention strategy is at the heart of The Big Issue thinking, and we’re calling on the political parties who are clamouring for YOUR vote to put it at the heart of theirs.

Invest now for a better future. This is not an empty soundbite. It’s a way ahead. Money spent now to help the poorest have opportunity saves welfare costs in subsequent years and allows there to be a route to success for those who were previously locked in.


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This week we print our simple manifesto for the election, a Manifesto for Prevention, one that if implemented could make Britain better and make life chances for those at the bottom suddenly open up. The cycle of poverty could be properly broken, rather than maintained.

There are choices in this election, big choices to shape the future. We call on parties to embrace prevention. And for you to hold your candidates to account. Will they show a willingness to step outside the standard cycle and be brave voices for those who need a hand up?

Take our manifesto to them. Challenge them to back it.

The Big Issue’s Prevention Manifesto

We believe in a fence at the top of the cliff, not an ambulance at the bottom. We believe in prevention over cure.

More than £17bn a year is spent in England and Wales on short-run late intervention. And in Scotland, 40 per cent of public spending is targeted at problems that could have been avoided.

We believe prevention should be at the heart of every policy when it comes to poverty.

Better use of resources will improve the quality of people’s lives, will reduce the need for expensive state services and help safeguard the future.

We believe in planning for the future and making the most of what you have.

Investing in people’s lives early on will provide routes out of poverty, into better futures, for the poorest in society.

We believe in social opportunity, that social enterprises offer a third way to deal with social problems that governments and business can’t always see.

We want a clear commitment to literacy, with guaranteed funds for local library services.

We want to see a plan to revolutionise our NHS, with an increased budget for prevention, and a shift to social and community medicine.

We want social justice for all, with opportunities that give people a hand up out of poverty, into better futures.

The Big Issue no 1254