“We can again be a world leader in tackling poverty and this new metric could indeed show us the way.

“It should be a clarion call to people to actually say that this is a group of people that we are really concerned about and there are things that can be done here.

“The Social Metrics Commission was formed in order to develop a new measure of poverty for the UK and to clearly identify who is in poverty in Britain so that the effective interventions can be made by all parties, not just by Government but all by parties.”

Philippa Stroud, ChairCEO, the Legatum Institute

“The challenge of doing this work is the mix between agreeing what it is we’re actually trying to measure, so before we get to technicalities and data and all those kind of questions. The thing at the beginning was just to agree – we all use the term poverty, but do we all mean the same thing by it?

“We have really developed such a strong shared understanding of what poverty is, of why it’s so damaging and the sense that we can all come together to solve it.”

Helen Barnard, CommissionerHead of Analysis, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

“I hope that all of the hard work that we’ve put in is something that fundamentally policymakers at a national level and a local level feel like they can take forward, because fundamentally that’s the heart of the effort that I’ve put in and that all of the Commissioners have put in.

“We’ve all gone on this journey together. What I’m really proud of is the fact that as a group of commissioners all with diverse views, we’ve all reached an agreed measure of what a good poverty measure needs to look like and that’s not always been easy because we all have different perspectives.”

Deven Ghelani, CommissionerCEO, Policy in Practice

“We welcome the new approach to measuring poverty set out in the Commission’s report. Measuring poverty effectively is essential if we are to improve the lives of those in poverty or help those who are in danger of being in it in the future.”

Making Every Adult Matter

“This important report reinvigorates the debate about how we measure poverty. I welcome the focus on the lived experience of low-income families, and their ability to access the resources they need to live their daily lives.”

Kate Green MP

“We fully support the Commission’s call on the UK’s statistics authorities to do more to capture the data needed to include social care costs in poverty measures”

Christians Against Poverty

“As a previous Minister for Government Policy I know how vitally important it is that we have effective and robust measures against which genuine progress can be measured. The work of the Social Metrics Commission puts to an end the battle about the measurement of poverty and opens up the way for proper debate about how best to help those in need – I recommend their findings to you.”

Sir Oliver Letwin MP

“This report is an important addition to the evidence that demonstrates disabled people face extra costs that need to be tackled. It is also clear that further work needs to be undertaken to truly understand the extent to which disabled people experience poverty.”


“We want to live in a society where people have what they need to get by. That’s why we welcome the Social Metrics Commission’s single measure of poverty covering children, adults and pensioners. What’s unique and particularly welcome is that the measure takes into account the inescapable expenses that some families face, such as the extra costs of disability and childcare.”

Trust For London

“We’re no longer just looking at incomes, we’re looking at all of the things we can that impact on a person’s ability to meet their needs.”

Matthew Oakley, SecretariatDirector, WPI Economics

“We welcome the work of the Social Metrics Commission (SMC) and in particular, the fact that we now have a set of poverty measures that recognise homelessness as one of the most acute forms of poverty. To end homelessness it’s vital that Government recognises the link between the drivers of poverty and the causes of homelessness.”


“Taking account of other costs people face, like childcare costs, like costs of disability, like housing costs and that for me is a fundamental change in how we think about poverty.”

Nick Harrison, CommissionerSenior Partner, Oliver Wyman

“In terms of the biggest challenge, I think it’s also the greatest success of the Commission, in that it’s been able to take a wide variety of viewpoints and create something which everyone has agreed to.”

Oliver Hilbery, CommissionerDirector, MEAM

“The government and the Office for National Statistics should take up this measure and use it to monitor how poverty is changing over time.  The measure shows that we must take action to tackle the chronic lack of genuinely affordable homes and problems with housing benefit that are leaving so many struggling with their rent and at risk of losing their home.”


“But we’ve really developed this measure very carefully over a long period of time, lots of Commissioner meetings, using a reference group of external stakeholders to test our decisions with, and it’s worth saying that we’ve sought to voluntarily comply with the UK’s Statistics Authority’s code of practice in statistics, which is the benchmark of how to do good statistics.”

Hetan Shah, CommissionerExecutive Director, Royal Statistical Society

“I welcome this impressive work and a new measurement of poverty…Now that we have a new measurement proposed, the focus must be on its widespread adoption and then, more crucially, targeting and tackling the causes of child poverty with effective policy”

Children's Commissioner

“What’s most useful is that they’re really taking account of the needs of disabled people in thinking about measurement. There are still challenges in how that’s done, but I think that’s a really substantial step forward.”

Leon Feinstein, CommissionerDirector of Evidence, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner

“For fifteen years the Centre for Social Justice has argued that tackling poverty demands addressing its root causes: family breakdown, educational failure, worklessness, debt, and addiction. The Social Metrics Commission’s Lived Experience Indicators in particular highlight just how important these are, becoming ever more prevalent the deeper people slide into poverty. Any government serious about tackling poverty must start by tackling these indicators.”

The Centre for Social Justice

“Raising a family is a struggle for millions of families because of rising childcare bills, high housing costs, the risk of debt and being unable to save. By recognising that these essential costs are inescapable, this new poverty measure shines a light on the reality of life on the lowest incomes for children and their families.”

Save the Children

“Money matters. A lack of financial resources is not the only, but certainly a major, cause and characteristic of poverty in modern society. That is why government urgently needs to measure material poverty again. This proposed measure from the Social Metrics Commission – which corrects some of the distortions and problems of the previous one –  should be adopted.”

Ryan ShorthouseDirector, Bright Blue

“Measuring poverty is complex, and this report offers further insight into that complexity and the additional measures that can be taken into consideration.”

HM Government

“…the publication today of an important new report on how to measure poverty is most welcome. The enticingly named Social Metrics Commission, chaired by the Tory peer Baroness Stroud and with academics, poverty experts and former Labour advisers among its members, has come up with a new method of measuring poverty which may at least go some way to providing us with a more credible single metric than we now have.”

Paul JohnsonDirector, Institute for Fiscal Studies

“It is extremely worrying that nearly a third of children – around 4.5m – are living in poverty according to this proposed new measure.  This important report rightly suggests that inescapable costs like childcare, housing and support for children with a disability should be taken into account when measuring poverty.”

The Children's Society

“This new measure brings the picture painted by poverty statistics much closer to what debt advice charities like ours see every day – more families struggling due to housing and childcare costs, debt, low savings and managing disabilities.

The proposal to include obligated debt repayments in future measures is a sensible one –  and will create a much more accurate reflection of a households overall financial position.”

Money Advice Trust

“Great example of cross-party working – listening to and learning from both sides without doubting motives – from the Social Metrics Commission. And the outcome a richer, more powerful view of UK poverty that enables a more effective fight against it.”

Polly MackenzieChief Executive, Demos

“We’ve been delighted to support the Social Metrics Commission in its work to re-define poverty measurement – as a route to helping some of the most disadvantaged in our country. In business we often say what gets measured gets managed, and it is only by measuring poverty accurately that we can shine a light on those who really need help.”

Oliver Wyman

“The Commission’s report confirms the extent of child poverty in the UK and the urgency of tackling it. By looking at a range of unavoidable costs, particularly for families and those living with disability, the report has given additional insights into the reality for many children growing up in poverty in the UK.”

National Children's Bureau

“Congratulations to the Social Metrics Commission for the best understanding of U.K. poverty to date. The scale of the challenge is crystal clear. Onus now on political parties, think tanks & others to bring ideas as big as the problem we face.”

Christian GuyFormer Special Advisor to David Cameron

“We know that for many families childcare costs mean that employment does not feel like a route of out of poverty. The fact that this poverty measure includes costs, such as childcare, will help policy makers to find solutions that really work for families.”

Coram Family and Childcare

“Thoroughly recommend the Social Metrics Commission and its attempt to better understand poverty through more holistic measurement of it.”

Tim Montgomerie

“We welcome the work of the Social Metrics Commission. The Commission’s decision to include liquid assets and unavoidable costs marks a huge step forward in presenting a more comprehensive picture of poverty in the UK. The measure has been welcomed by organisations and politicians across the spectrum, and rallying around it can help us focus not on how we measure poverty, but how we tackle it.”

Impetus Private Equity Foundation

“The Social Metrics Commission is to be congratulated for their commitment to support people from disadvantaged backgrounds by developing this new measure which seeks to better capture the experience of people living in poverty. I am particularly pleased to see the inclusion of debt as an important factor in understanding the impact of poverty on people’s lives.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury