Alison Garnham | CPAG
Chief executive

 

Alison Garnham became chief executive of CPAG in September 2010. Prior to that she was the CEO of Daycare Trust - since June 2006. Prior to this, for nine years, she was the director of policy, research and information at One Parent Families (now Gingerbread).

Alison worked for many years as a welfare rights adviser and for a number of women’s organisations and local voluntary sector organisations before, in 1989, joining CPAG (for the first time) where she co-authored a number of publications about the Child Support Act. She has subsequently written about lone parenthood and child poverty, including an edition of Poverty: the Facts, published by CPAG.

Before joining One Parent Families she was senior lecturer in social policy at the University of North London (now London Metropolitan University) where she has also been an honorary research fellow.

Alison was for nine years a member of the Social Security Advisory Committee and an honorary officer of the End Child Poverty campaign.

Alison was made a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2018.

By Alison Garnham

New £10 Scottish Child Payment a game-changer – and a pointer to what’s needed across the UK

04 July 2019
The new £10 a week Scottish Child Payment for each child in low income families, announced by the Scottish Government last week, is a game-changer in the fight to end child poverty in Scotland - and a pointer to what is possible, and so badly needed, at UK level. It’s also an inspiring reminder of what can be achieved when child poverty campaigners bring together partners across civic society at the same time where there is a political will, and a government with a statutory obligation, to end child poverty.

Why food is not the answer to hunger in the UK

05 April 2019
In a week when CPAG has published the brilliant new book Living hand to mouth – children and food in low income families by Rebecca O’Connell, Abigail Knight and Julia Brannen, it might seem strange to suggest that food is not the solution to hunger.

It was 20 years ago today

18 March 2019
In the words of the Sergeant Pepper song, ’It was twenty years ago today…’, on 18 March 1999, that the British government pledged to be the first to end child poverty in a generation. By 2010, there were 1.1 million fewer children in poverty.

Something needs saying about universal credit and women – it is discrimination by design

17 August 2018
At a recent meeting on women and poverty, I was asked to speak about universal credit (UC). It forced me to think about the ways in which UC is hugely problematic for women, particularly mothers. Eventually I concluded it was a case of discrimination by design.

Six key points from 'The Austerity Generation: the impact of a decade of cuts on families with children'

06 November 2017
Today, CPAG publishes a major new study on the impact of austerity on families with children: ‘The Austerity Generation: the impact of a decade of cuts on family incomes and child poverty‘.

Welfare rights in the age of universal credit

18 April 2017
This week we publish our latest Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook – indispensable for those advisers and frontline workers who need comprehensive, up-to-date information and, crucially, the relevant law to challenge decisions.

Is rising child poverty a price worth paying to protect our children?

16 March 2017
Today’s awful figures tells us several things. Child poverty is high. It’s rising – it’s jumped to 4 million. Two thirds of poor children come from working families. But perhaps the main lesson to take away is that we need to call time on the unfathomable Whitehall orthodoxy, driven by George Osborne but still in place under Theresa May, that rising child poverty is a price worth paying to protect our children.

Damning proof that the government has no evidence benefits sanctions work

01 December 2016
The National Audit Office says the government has failed to measure whether sanctioning benefit claimants represents value for money. Does anyone remember evidence-based policymaking? For the DWP, it appears from today’s National Audit Office (NAO) report on sanctions, it is at best a dim and distant memory.

David Cameron's record on child poverty

13 July 2016
David Cameron’s final words at PMQs today – “Nothing is really impossible if you put your mind to it” – bring to my mind one of his early speeches on poverty. 

Divided Britain

01 July 2016
In searching for explanations for the cataclysmic events of 23 June, commentators have alighted on the obvious voting divides by age, region and level of disadvantage across the UK. The amazing thing is that this should come as any surprise.

Time to 'stick or twist' on wage subsidy

04 May 2016
It’s undoubtedly good news that Stephen Crabb, the new Work & Pensions Secretary, insists that Universal Credit will be one of his main priorities. The key question, however, is will it be one of the Chancellor’s priorities?

The big warning in Unicef’s report on child wellbeing

18 April 2016
Unicef’s analysis of child wellbeing across the developed world, released today, is emphatic that increasing family incomes is a critical tool to boost children’s educational success, health and happiness. In saying this, it is issuing a pretty clear warning to the United Kingdom government that poverty-producing policies will deprive children of happy, healthy and secure childhoods.

Why I campaign

29 February 2016
Our Chief Executive was featured in the Third Sector magazine, talking about her 'light bulb' moment that took her towards a career in welfare rights and campaigning.

Now you see it, now you don't. The government's magic trick on child poverty.

07 December 2015
Now you see it…  Now you don’t.  The government’s rustled up a party trick for the kids this Christmas. They’re going to make 3.7 million of them disappear. Britain’s children aren’t going anywhere, of course, particularly those who are growing up poor.

It seems children from low-income families are at the bottom of this government's list of priorities

12 August 2015
"100 days but already the parents of a child born on the 8 May would be justified in feeling nervous about her future. Since its re-election, the Conservative government has brought in a raft of policies that may profoundly affect their child's life."

While the government officially abolishes child poverty, things are getting worse

03 July 2015
If the Government goes ahead with its plans to redefine child poverty then it will be turning its backs on poor children and on the past. No redefinition can hide the reality that the Government’s child poverty strategy is failing. 

We can do so much better on child poverty

25 June 2015
‘A strong society means moving forward together, no one left behind, fighting relative poverty a central policy goal.’ Well, Child Poverty Action Group would say that, wouldn’t they? In fact, these are the words of David Cameron, less than a decade ago...

David Cameron's attempts to move the goalposts on poverty are a disaster - but don't take my word for it

24 June 2015
The failure of the Government’s child poverty approach must not be compounded by moving the goalposts.You can't define away poverty - and David Cameron himself has admitted that.

What we didn’t talk about in the election

22 June 2015
We really are living in the age of the permanent campaign. The general election was just weeks ago, but the main parties and political commentators have moved on and are looking at events through the lens of the 2020 election. Before that happens, it’s worth noting something pretty peculiar about the 2015 campaign.

How has the coalition done on child poverty?

06 May 2015
When George Osborne claimed in last month’s Budget to have reduced child poverty, I’m sure mine weren’t the only raised eyebrows. Michael Gove made a similar claim yesterday, that the government has ‘been able to save £21bn in the welfare budget and at the same time reduce inequality and reduce child poverty in this country’. 

What was missing from the 2015 Budget? Anything to do with child poverty

19 March 2015
'This was a "see no poverty, hear no poverty" budget from a government in denial. The Chancellor made claim to a truly national recovery throughout his speech but this is a ‘See no poverty, Hear no poverty’ Budget which continues to leave children and the low paid behind.

The limits of Universal Credit

06 March 2015
Since 2010 the Government has overseen an ambitious, large-scale programme of income redistribution. From poorer to richer groups. That’s the striking conclusion to be drawn from the most comprehensive analysis to date of the Government’s social policy record published recently by the LSE and the universities of Manchester and York.

The road to the food bank is paved by failures in the benefit system

19 November 2014
Food banks have become a political football. Some say demand is driven by supply: if you build it, they will come. Others point to the rising cost of living, especially food price inflation, or benefit cuts as the key drivers of demand (or need).

9 reasons to protect child benefit

17 July 2014
"I'm not going to flannel you, I'm going to give it to you straight. I like the child benefit, I wouldn't change child benefit, I wouldn't means-test it, I don't think that is a good idea." So said David Cameron in March 2010.

New Child Poverty Strategy Is Last Chance for Coalition to Show It's Serious About Ending Child Poverty

26 February 2014
The coalition government has repeatedly embraced its legal commitment to end child poverty by 2020. As part of this, it needs to publish a second national Child Poverty Strategy (CPS) by early April. The delays in getting out a draft - initially expected before Christmas, but now expected later this week - have given rise to feverish political speculation

You can’t reduce poverty without an adequate welfare state

21 January 2014
No one denies that Rachel Reeves, as Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, has one of the toughest gigs in town. Fiscally, it seems a Labour government would cap spending on social security. Politically, at a time when highly punitive policies such as the benefit cap attract broad public support, Labour is sensitive to proposing any reform that could be spun as "soft on scroungers".