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Why fight poverty?


why fight poverty?A rallying call by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s chief executive, Julia Unwin.

Julia Unwin’s most recent book, ‘Why fight poverty?’ argues for the urgent need to tackle poverty in the UK.

Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, rejects any notion that poverty is inevitable and describes how the current discourse has reached a political stalemate, descending into an unhelpful argument about structural overhaul on the political left to the role of individual agency on the political right.

And she emphasises the large part emotions and public attitudes play in being a barrier to reducing poverty.

The failure to rise to the challenge of solving poverty matters, in Unwin’s opinion, because it is costly, wasteful and risky for individuals as well as for us as a society as a whole.

Speaking at the launch she said: “I hope my book will launch a national debate in all quarters about the need to reduce poverty in this country.

“Poverty is not about a group of people over there, separate from us: it is about everyone.

“Too much is at stake to ignore the costs – both human and financial – of the continuing struggle faced by many people today.

“We need to create a strong shared understanding of poverty and take a comprehensive approach to tackling it, that is not just about pitting the deserving against the undeserving poor.

And, “It is within our gift and power to do so.”

Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger, senior rabbi at the West London Synagogue, said: “This book makes a powerful case that we can eliminate poverty if we want to. It challenges widely held misconceptions of the poor.

“Everyone, of all shades of opinion, should read this and then work out how they can help to repair our fractured society.”

Unwin’s book is one of four launch titles in a new series called Perspectives and edited by Diane Coyle, who is an economist and herself author of several books.

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