Income and Poverty

International and historical anti-poverty strategies: evidence and policy review

  • Published 19th May 2014
  • Authors: Tom MacInnes, , , , Peter Kelly , , Fiona McHardy,
  • Category: Income and Poverty

This report sets out how poverty in the UK compares with other countries, in Europe and elsewhere. It also compares approaches to reducing poverty across these countries, looking for evidence of strategies that work.

Key findings:

  • Strategies are more likely to succeed if they have:
        • political commitment;
        • clear lines of accountability;
        • links to economic policy;
        • dedicated institutions or systems of governance ;
        • co-ordination across government;
        • external stakeholder involvement;
        • an effective system of monitoring and review.
  • While the UK did not have a national strategy, it has seen a fall in poverty while other countries have seen a rise. This is at least in part due to the introduction of a range of other anti-poverty policies.
  • The effectiveness of the EU Nation Action Plans was varied. While they did not achieve their aim of reducing poverty, they did enable countries to make strategic progress towards developing systems and structures for tackling poverty.
  • Anti-poverty strategies can be an effective way to assign responsibility for poverty reduction, facilitate co-ordination and consensus building and build support for the development of new measures or polices.
  • Increasing the number of people in work does not necessarily decrease the number in poverty.
  • The timescale associated with anti-poverty strategies means they need to be embedded in order to survive political change.


About this report
This report was funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and written by Tom MacInnes and Sabrina Bushe of the New Policy Institute and Peter Kelly and Fiona McHardy of the Poverty Alliance. The facts presented and views expressed in this report are those of the authors and not necessarily those of JRF.