Press Release

Establish a Ministry to address root causes of poverty, Big Issue founder tells Lords

Crossbench peer Lord John Bird presented his radical proposal for a Ministry of Poverty Prevention to the House of Lords for the first time today.

The first reading of Lord John Bird's bill for a Ministry of Poverty Prevention has been read in the Lords. Image: Louise Haywood-Schiefer

Big Issue founder and crossbench peer Lord John Bird addressed the House of Lords with the first reading of his Ministry of Poverty Prevention Bill yesterday (Wednesday 13 March).

With central resources currently focused on merely supporting those in poverty, Lord Bird is calling for a new government department – a Ministry for Poverty Prevention – to address and eradicate its root causes.

The proposed Ministry would allow policymaking to evolve from ‘firefighting’ to centralised 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. With a General Election looming, this is a pressing priority.

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.”

For more information on Lord Bird’s Ministry of Poverty Prevention Bill, visit bigissue.com/campaigns/ministry-of-poverty-prevention.

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