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New Prime Minister set to deliver social justice agenda with key cabinet appointments

By Philippa Stroud

In her first statement as Prime Minister, Theresa May put social justice firmly on her  agenda with a commitment to leading a Government that is for the many not the few. This commitment is reflected in her track record as Home Secretary and in her Cabinet appointments this week.

As Home Secretary, Theresa May was the driving force behind the new Modern Slavery Act which was built from the Centre for Social Justice's report, It Happens Here: Equipping the United Kingdom to fight modern slavery. Because of Mrs May’s determination to put tackling modern slavery back on the Government agenda we now have strong anti-slavery laws that give clarity to our national approach, provide better support for victims and harsher penalties for perpetrators; clear evidence of her commitment to vulnerable people.

In her first speech as Prime Minister, Mrs May spoke of fighting against 'burning injustice':

"That if you're born poor you will die on average nine years earlier than others. If you're black, you're treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you're white. If you're a white working class boy, you're less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university. If you're at a state school, you're less likely to reach the top professions than if you're educated privately. If you're a woman, you will earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there's not enough help to hand. If you're young, you'll find it harder than ever before to own your own home."

Her Cabinet appointments reflect her approach to lifting our most vulnerable out of poverty and on to greater prosperity.

The new Education Secretary, Justine Greening has a deep commitment to social mobility and desire to provide the same opportunities to others that she credits for her own success. Liz Truss as Justice Secretary will ensure that education remains at the heart of prison reform, continuing the good work started by Michael Gove through the Dame Sally Coates' Review; and Jeremy Hunt remaining Health Secretary will see reforms to provide better mental health services continue.

Those with a commitment to social mobility have been given key appointments to drive this agenda. Sajid Javid as Communities Secretary is well placed to address the housing crisis and Damian Green as Work and Pensions Secretary has the opportuntiy to ensure work continues to pay.

The Centre for Social Justice has long championed a robust social reform agenda.

This agenda that tackles poverty and transforms the lives of Britain’s poorest by focusing on addressing the five pathways to poverty – family breakdown, worklessness, drug and alcohol addiction, serious personal debt and educational failure. We welcome the fact the new Prime Minister has made a strong statement to prioritise social justice.

In our report, Improving Life Chances, we set out a roadmap for delivering a life chances strategy to effectively lift people out of poverty, provide them with the support and opportunities for progression and success and above all a vision and a future for their lives.

CSJ Report: Improving Life Chances

CSJ Report: It Happens Here: Equpping the United Kingdom to fight modern slavery

CSJ and Legatum Institute's new project seeks to provide a roadmap for new PM to meet the needs of the country, bring unity and negotiate a successful exit from the EU

By Patrick Spencer

When it comes to our relationship with Europe, the Brexit vote showed that many British people are unhappy with the status quo. At the Centre for Social Justice’s Alliance Conference last week we conducted our first Brexit survey with participants from charities across the country.

Survey respondents overwhelmingly stated that leave voters were motivated by issues of inequality, disenfranchisement with Westminster and failure to benefit from EU membership.

Many of the people these charities worked with expressed fear of  job losses and increased pressure on public services if we were to remain in the EU.

A growing disconnect between Westminster and the rest of the country was raised, with a sense that Westminster didn't really understand their needs and how to address them.

There was also a belief that people on low incomes hadn't benefited from the EU but had rather suffered through loss of wages and increased living costs.

This was an opportunity for the CSJ to gain an insight into why people voted the way they did. The CSJ and The Legatum Institute have recently launched a joint project, ’48:52 – Healing a Divided Britain’ in an effort to clarify and understand the issues important that are important to the British people.

The project, due in September, seeks to provide robust analysis of voting behaviour within an economic, political and cultural context. It will provide a roadmap for the new Prime Minister to meet the needs of the country, bring unity and negotiate a successful exit from the EU.

Sajid Javid says businesses don't have to choose between being ethical and successful

By Saskia Greenhalgh

We shouldn't be afraid of praising the reforming role that business can play in tackling poverty. This was the message to come out of recent event hosted by the CSJ and Marsh, a global insurance company, where former Business Secretary Sajid Javid praised the potential reforming role of business in reducing poverty.

Speaking to a room of business leaders, Sajid Javid said: "Business can act as a force for social good and the best businesses don’t need to choose between being ethical and being profitable."

By providing employment, paying taxes, researching and creating new technologies and providing us with goods and services, business plays an important role in improving people’s lives and creating prosperity.

The Prime Minister has merged the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills with the Department for Energy and Climate Change to create the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

In amongst these changes we shouldn't forget the potential for Government to ensure that business is also focused efforts to improve life chances, and reduce poverty.

In early Autumn the CSJ will be setting out recommendations on how the Government can harness the transformative power of business for the wider social good.

Centre for Social Justice hears from grassroots poverty-fighting charities at annual Alliance Conference

By Dolly Theis

The Centre for Social Justice recognises the valuable contribution of poverty-fighting charities across the country. To this end we established an Alliance of more than 300 grass roots charities so we can make sure the voices of those on the front-line are heard in Westminster and ensure we stay directly connected with what’s really happening throughout Britain.

Our annual Alliance Conference last week  provided a chance for these charities to come together and let us know what the concerns are for the British people as well as hear from thought-leaders in Government, charity, philanthropy and the City.

In a powerful reminder of the ability charities have to affect change, Philippa Stroud, Chief Executive of the CSJ, spoke of their role as a bridge between the public and the establishment. To harness their potential Philippa laid out several top tips, including committing to a clear vision of the end goal from the beginning, to not fear political engagement when seeking to protect those they serve and to utilise meetings with Ministers effectively. By doing so charities can elevate personal and community transformation to a national and systemic level.