UCL Grand Challenges


Cost-of-living crisis mini policy commission

A cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral policy commission generating knowledge exchange on the cost-of-living crisis in the UK, and research and policy responses to it.

Man standing indoors packing a plastic bag at a food bank

19 October 2023


Grant: Ad hoc funding
Year awarded: 2022-23
Amount awarded: £70,000 (Research England Policy Support Fund)


  • Professor Ann Phoenix, IOE
  • Dr Olivia Stevenson, RIGE
  • Siobhan Morris, RIGE

This collaboration brought together expertise from across disciplines and sectors to examine the cost-of-living crisis in the UK and intersectionality. In partnership with UCL Public Policy and Tortoise Media, the commission 'Cost-of-living crisis in the UK: all in it together?' convened, programmed, and moderated a series of 'ThinkIn' discussions, with the objective to convene relevant stakeholders, facilitate knowledge exchange and build insights.

Four speakers seated in a horseshoe on either side of TV screen at a public event on cost-of-living crisis

From April-June 2023, Tortoise hosted three bespoke ThinkIns for audiences drawn from academia, the third sector, media and the policy community.

Discussions set out to better understand existing policy approaches to the cost-of-living crisis, its impact on social groups, and how we can practically bring policymaking back to first principles. 

The commission sought to go beyond examining economic policy responses, to ask how an intersectional approach – thinking across different departments and across social groups – could 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? Which communities that intersect social groups have faced the brunt of the cost of living crisis? And how can we prepare for future upheavals?

Alongside a major final report, the partnership also generated significant impacts through producing 3x Sensemaker Guides; 3x Tortoise readouts; and had over 80+ attendees across the ThinkIns.

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