We frequently meet people who find themselves making tough decisions like going hungry so their children can have a hot meal, or turning off the heating so they can keep the lights on for a little longer. We want to make sure that policymakers hear from the experiences of real people on the knife-edge of poverty.
We hear a lot about the injustices woman face in modern Britain, not least in the form of the gender pay gap. An IFS report earlier this year captured the spotlight as it spelled it out in cold, hard statistics how the pay gap between men and women grows after having children, leading to stalled career progression. But a story less often told is how women at the bottom end of the labour market are carrying the heavier burden of poverty in our society. Figures released by JRF as part of the BBC's 100 Women highlight this reality. A fifth of women - around 5.1million - live in poverty in the UK, compared to 4.4million men.
The Commission I chair hopes those reforms can be captured by government in A Ten Year Plan for Social Reform. It will take time and effort, as well as new thinking and new approaches, to create a level playing field of opportunity in our country. But that should be the holy grail of public policy, the priority for government and the cause which unites the nation to action.
t is still underfunded, and hopefully the prospect additional funds will be raised during the Third Reading, but it is a step, perhaps only a small step, in the right direction. Charities have accomplished truly incredible feats with limited resources, but now the government needs to take some responsibility.
For a couple of months now there has been a young woman selling the Big Issue magazine outside my local supermarket. Small shop on the High Street, you know the kind of thing. During these months my feelings towards her have spun out of control, from rational to downright, certifiably crazy. And I ask myself why?
Being poor is not just about being unable to afford those 'nice to have' things - it's being forced to pay more for the absolute essentials, such as gas, electricity, banking, household goods and even groceries simply because you are living in poverty. It's called the 'poverty premium' and it is effectively a tax on the poor.
We still have a long way to go to make sure the benefits system is as fair as it should be for people in poverty in the UK. By partnering with organisations like Community Shop, we hope to do more to break social isolation and help people with the dignity they deserve, to try and make sure they never need to use the foodbank again.
Children can't take out loans - but they can suffer the consequences of aggressive creditors all the same. The Children's Society is deeply concerned that bailiffs, utility companies and local councils who chase struggling parents over unpaid debts may be inflicting real damage to children's mental health.
Poverty in the UK is a big problem, and solving it requires a big response. But we cannot avoid the problem any longer. As Brexit showed, addressing poverty is a moral, political and economic imperative. It wastes people's potential, depriving our society and economy of the skills and talents of those who have valuable contributions to make. Solving the burning injustice of poverty is the way to truly make Britain work for all.