Our legacy and yours | CPAG

Our legacy and yours

How gifts left to CPAG have had an impact over the years

In 1965, Brian Abel-Smith and Peter Townsend published, ‘The Poor and the Poorest’. By demonstrating that despite 20 years of a welfare state, poverty still persisted, especially among children and the elderly, it challenged the social and political complacency of the day and led directly to the formation of the Child Poverty Action Group. Awareness grew that a coalition of academics, social workers and welfare rights activists with a single cause to fight could lead to extraordinary change.

It is a fitting testament to these early days that CPAG continues to strive for a society free of child poverty, where all children can enjoy a childhood free of financial hardship. And we have had significant victories along the way, including the establishment of child benefit.

A large part of our success over the years has been built on the legacies we have received from our members and supporters, including from our founders. In 1996, we were kindly left a legacy in the will of Brian Abel-Smith. It was thanks to this and other legacies that we were able to purchase a building with a purpose-built training suite to offer courses for hundreds of advisers each year.

Brian’s legacy lives on to this day: CPAG reaches over 10,000 advisers and frontline workers each year through our training, conferences, seminars, e-learning and online resources, and we distribute over 19,000 handbooks and publications including our Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook.

Over the years, we have received many legacies, including from academics, a secondary school teacher, a law professor, a social services support worker, a welfare rights adviser and a social worker.

In 1992, Mary Barker, author of “Theories of Practice in Social Work”, also remembered CPAG in her will and we received her very generous gift last year. This was also the year when CPAG’s judicial review proceedings ensured that between £100 and £150 million pounds would be paid out to around 70,000 disabled people who were underpaid when they were moved from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance (ESA) . Subsequently, the government announced arrears for disabled people will be backdated to the date that they moved to ESA.

For over fifty years, CPAG has worked relentlessly to ensure children’s voices are heard, that families struggling financially are supported and that decision-makers are held to account. Your support has been and will continue to be invaluable.


Welfare Benefits Handbooks through the years



The Handbook, familiar to all advisers, was first published in 1972, edited by Ruth Lister, now Baroness Lister of Burtersett, CPAG’s Honorary President.