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NS Essay competition

Poverty Index Essay competition run by the New Statesman and the Webb Memorial Trust. First prize: £


Poverty is not due to a weakness of individual character, but is a problem of social structure and economic management.

These words by Beatrice Webb, co-founder of the New Statesman, were as relevant in 1909 as they are today.

What does poverty mean to people?

What factors should be taken into account in defining poverty?

And, crucially, how can we engage more people in solving it?



The New Statesman has joined forces with The Webb Memorial Trust to develop a 'Measurement of Poverty Index'. We would like to invite young people to submit essays of no more than 2,500 words on the following topic:



"If Beatrice Webb were alive today and wanted to compile an index of poverty in the UK, what factors would be included, how would they be measured, and how would each factor be weighted? Also, how would you use such an index to promote the issue of poverty in the public and political consciousness?"



The competition is now open. First prize is £1,000 CASH, and your essay will be published in the magazine. One runner-up will win £500. Also note:

  • Deadline 15 October, 2011
  • Entrants must be 18-25 years old
  • Essays of no more than 2,500 words.
  • Winner and runner-up announced at Awards Reception, December, in London (all shortlisted entries invited)
  • Publication of winning essay in New Statesman
  • Please submit your entries to


Submitted essays will be judged by:

Richard Rawes (Chair, Webb Trust), Jason Cowley (Editor, NS), Baroness Ruth Lister, Kate Green MP (former CE of CPAG, Child Poverty Action Group), Chris White MP, Paul Hackett (Director Smith Institute)