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Friend of Tortoise Exclusive

The cost of living crisis: all in it together?

The cost of living crisis: all in it together?

This event is exclusive to Friends of Tortoise

a thinkin series

The cost of
living crisis: all in it together?

Join us and have your say. In partnership with UCL, Tortoise journalists and invited guests will be taking stock of existing policy around the cost of living crisis, identifying where the gaps are and how we can bridge them.

what is a thinkin?

The ThinkIn is not a typical panel discussion, but a forum for civilised disagreement and organised listening. It’s modelled on a newspaper editorial conference designed to reach a better informed opinion based on the experience and expertise of everyone in the room.

UK inflation hit a 40-year high last October, with the rising cost of energy and food hurting households in particular. The UK government was left with little choice but to step in: the Energy Price Guarantee and Warm Home Discount scheme became key economic policies.

But although the cost of living crisis has affected nearly everyone in the UK, it has not done so equally. Based on November ONS data, the Resolution Foundation estimates that inflation for the richest households was 9.6 per cent – while for the poorest it was 12.5 per cent. The ONS note says that in December 2022, 61 per cent of those in deprived areas were buying less food; in the least deprived areas that figure stood at 41 per cent.

Although some government policies aimed at mitigating the impact of price rises are means-tested, the evidence shows that financial aid for the most vulnerable is often not enough. Policy response has focused almost exclusively on economic measures.

The UK’s social inequalities may have been accelerated by the pandemic, but were already well entrenched. Meanwhile, government departments often spend their time competing for resources and focusing on single-issue policies, rather than taking a holistic approach.

How would an intersectional approach – thinking across different departments and across social groups – impact government policy when reacting to the cost-of-living crisis? Do any government departments consider the impact of rising costs for people across social groups – race, gender, class, disability – when building policy (aside from one-off Equality Impact Assessments)? Which communities that intersect social groups have faced the brunt of the cost of living crisis? And how can we prepare for future upheavals?

about us

Tortoise is building a different kind of newsroom. We’re opening up journalism and giving everyone a seat at the table. The ThinkIn is the heart of what we do. It’s a forum for civilised disagreement where our members take part in live, unscripted conversations that shape the way we report the world.


Use the code UCLTHINKIN to book your place below.

Session 1 of 3

Tuesday 25 April: 14:00 – 15:00

The cost of living crisis: all in it together?

Before we can rethink policy approaches and their impact on society, we need to understand the state of play. How did the government react to the warning signs ahead of the cost-of-living crisis and what evidence did they draw upon to form policy response? How were different social groups impacted by the same policy? Where did existing assessments fall short? We will assess Whitehall’s response and any specific policy gaps that can be traced to a lack of intersectional thinking. Did devolved administrations approach the issue more effectively and if so, how?

Jess Winch, News Editor, Tortoise
Session 2 of 3

Tuesday 30 May: 14:00 – 15:00

First principles: how do we build effective policy? 

What would it mean to take policy back to first principles – the betterment of everyone? More importantly, what would it mean in practice to create policy without siloed government departments? How is data on the experiences of people affected by the current crisis being collated and is this being utilised to measure effectiveness of government policy or targeted interventions? Are there examples of policy making, in the UK or abroad, that keep intersectionality in mind? What difference has that made?

Jess Winch, News Editor, Tortoise
Session 3 of 3

Tuesday 20 June: 14:00-15:00

Bridging the gaps: where do we go from here? 

What were the barriers to formulating policy in reaction to the cost-of-living crisis that meant certain social groups fell through the cracks? What practical steps, in the current fiscal environment, can be done to remove them? How can we ensure adoption of intersectional thinking and a cross-department approach is implemented when required? And, how can we make sure policymakers see the benefits to society as a whole of taking an intersectional approach?

Jess Winch, News Editor, Tortoise



News editor, Tortoise