CPAG at 50
The History of the Child Poverty Action Group
In December 1965 the Child Poverty Action Group, responding to the issue of the "rediscovery of child poverty" was founded. 50 years later they are still as active as ever with the needs of children in families living in poverty central to their work. CPAG were, and have remained, a relatively small organisation when compared to many other national charities. Yet, despite this their reach in terms of political influence and profile has been significant. This can, perhaps, be attributed to the range and scale of their involvement in political processes and also the degree to which their campaigns have sparked a nerve and touched many other groups and individuals. They have contributed briefings and evidence to multiple commissions, inquiries and legislative process; they have been prolific publishers of books relating to the workings of social security legislation, and the impact of poverty and inequality on society more generally. They have had, at points, not only individual members but also a network of branches, poverty watchers and constituency campaigners seeking to influence policy from the ground up. Their influential welfare rights publications and legal challenges have had an impact not only in assisting welfare rights workers, CAB and social workers, but also many individuals who have been beneficiaries of changes to the system CPAG have effected.
As part of the celebration of 50 years of activism by CPAG Pat Thane, Professor of Contemporary History at Kings College, London, was awarded an AHRC grant to write the history of the Group. This research has, so far, consisted of extensive archival research as well as a process of witness seminars with people who worked within the national organisation. It is intended that this webpage will publish a range of articles to reflect this wide and varied heritage based on the materials and activities of CPAG uncovered so far.
For a fully rounded history of CPAG, however, we would also like to seek to views of those outside the national group who have had experience of CPAG, in any respect. If you have used their publications, participated in their campaigns, worked in a branch and have memories or materials you would like to share please email them to us at Kings; firstname.lastname@example.org. We would really love to hear from you and hope you might help to contribute to the wider project.
UPDATE: The initial history of the first 50 years of CPAG is now available online - click for details
Poverty Journal and Publications
Since 1966 CPAG has published its journal Poverty, currently thrice yearly. Its mix of campaign news, policy statements and in-depth explorations have been prominent in bringing debates to the fore and exploring in greater detail some of the facts and figures behind the reality of poverty. Beyond the Poverty journal CPAG have also been prolific in their publications with books and pamphlets that have been significant in underpinning their campaigning, work as well as bringing to greater prominence some significant pieces of academic research.