25 years on: reflections on social justice

Poverty 157 (Summer 2017)

Since she took office, Theresa May has adopted the language of ‘social justice’, promising to end the ‘burning injustice’ that some are born into lives of more opportunity than others, because of poverty, race, gender or class. There have been promises of a green paper, setting out her reform agenda. ‘Social justice’ has been high on the agenda before. Twenty five years ago, John Smith’s Commission on Social Justice was set up and, two years later, it published its final recommendations for improving social justice in the UK in Social Justice: strategies for national renewal. Advocating for a society that invests in people as its greatest asset and source of growth, the Commission was very influential in shaping social policy in the New Labour years. Here, four former Commission members, together with a commentator from a different part of the political spectrum, the Director of the think tank Bright Blue, reflect on developments since then and suggest what should be included in a social justice strategy today.

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