Case Study

Rethinking Poverty – The Webb Memorial Trust

Rethinking Poverty – The Webb Memorial Trust

The Webb Memorial Trust pursues the intellectual legacy of Beatrice Webb (1858-1943), who, together with her husband Sidney (1859-1947), embarked on a vigorous programme of social reform which influenced the development of the post-war welfare state. The Trust was formed in 1947 with the purpose of ‘the advancement of education and learning with respect to the history and problems of government and social policy’.

Beatrice Webb argued that poverty was not a result of moral failure but of structural causes that had solutions. Her 1909 publication of the Minority Report of the Royal Commission on the Poor Law sounded a radical call not just for the abolition of the workhouse but for its replacement with universal public services which reflect our common citizenship. Beatrice was among the founders of the London School of Economics and Political Science, a key member of the Fabian Society and founder of the New Statesman.

Since 1987 the Webb Memorial Trust has funded a wide range of projects in the UK, helping to create a better informed debate about poverty, its causes and solutions.


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