New SMF project to engage London businesses on reducing poverty in the capital

The Social Market Foundation is seeking the views of London’s business community as it launches a new multi-year project with Trust for London, examining the practical steps firms can take to reduce poverty in the capital.

Poverty in London, particularly in-work poverty, is a growing problem. The latest data show the poverty rate for people living in London in households where both adults worked full-time grew from 6% in 2010 to 9% in 2020.

New findings published by the SMF today reveal how London’s business community is impacted by poverty, and firms’ willingness to make a difference:

  • 76% of London businesses think that at least some of their employees have direct experience of poverty.
  • More than 50% of firms of all sizes agreed that workforce poverty in particular “should be a concern” for London businesses.
  • 70% of businesses said that they were willing to take additional voluntary action beyond what is legally required of them to address poverty.

The next stage of this project will see more extensive engagement with the London business and investor communities and the publication of more research into business attitudes towards and experiences with standards and benchmarks.

Phase two will also involve the creation of an expert advisory group to help guide the project through its next steps, which include the central ambition of the project of designing a new benchmark for use by London businesses and investors.

We welcome the ideas and observations of businesses, relevant civil society groups, academics, practitioners and others on this research, the wider project and its objectives, and encourage those who are interested in this issue to contact the Social Market Foundation via to be part of this conversation.


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