Social Justice

Big Issue founder calls for a Ministry of Poverty Prevention ahead of the general election

Lord John Bird wants a new government department, a Ministry of Poverty Prevention, to address the root causes of poverty

john bird/ ministry of poverty prevention

John Bird introducing his Ministry of Poverty Prevention in the House of Lords. Image: Parliament TV

Big Issue founder Lord John Bird has called for a Ministry of Poverty Prevention with a new bill in the House of Lords – but he said it doesn’t have a “snowball in hell’s chance of going anywhere this parliamentary session”.

Ahead of a general election, crossbench peer Lord Bird wants all parties to consider a radical change in thinking and approach to tackling poverty. He believes this can only be achieved through a step change in policymaking and delivery at the heart of government.

Lord Bird addressed the House of Lords with the first reading of his Ministry of Poverty Prevention Bill on Wednesday (13 March).

With central resources currently focused on “firefighting” solutions to support those in poverty instead of eradicating its root causes, Lord Bird is calling for a new governmental department.

The Ministry of Poverty Prevention would have a focus on poverty-led policy, delivery and funding. At the centre of Lord Bird’s bill is a desire to see anti-poverty policy and projects endure beyond election cycles and governmental changes.

Lord John Bird said: “I’m proud to have presented my Ministry of Poverty Prevention Bill to the House this afternoon. But the reality is that it doesn’t have a snowball in hell’s chance of going anywhere this parliamentary session.

“In a general election year, it is especially vital that we reassess the government’s approach to anti-poverty policy development and public expenditure. We cannot allow another election cycle to pass us by without addressing the root causes of poverty and doing our utmost to cure it.

“That is what a Ministry of Poverty Prevention would do and I will continue to urge both the current administration and the next to implement my plan, and lift the millions of people living in destitution across the country into better circumstances.”

Find out more about Lord Bird’s Ministry of Poverty Prevention Bill.

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