Frank Field MPFrank Field headshot



Frank Field has been the Labour MP for Birkenhead since 1979. He entered Parliament after spending ten years as Director of the Child Poverty Action Group and six years as Director of the Low Pay Unit. 

Frank has continuously worked on poverty and welfare reform throughout his time as an MP. Between 1980 and 1981 he served as Shadow Education and Social Security spokesman. In 1990 he took up the reigns as chair of the Social Security Select Committee, and in 1997 joined Tony Blair's Government as Minister for Welfare Reform.

Frank also has keen interests outside Parliament as the founder of Cool Earth, Chair of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England and Chair of the 2011 Trust.   


Personal message, June 2010 

My entire career has been concerned with improving the lives of those worst off in society, initially as Director of the Child Poverty Action Group, and for the last thirty years as MP for Birkenhead. The new Coalition Government has now asked me to lead an independent review on poverty and life chances. The Review will look at how we measure poverty in Britain today – whether low income alone constitutes poverty, and if not what are the other aspects of poverty, and how they are measured – and at what the key determinants of good life chances are – taking account of the importance of a child's development before attending school and how good influences at this stage of a child’s life can best be embedded in society.

Over the next few months the team and I will be working hard to produce a report which is well grounded and which offers the Government workable solutions to lessen the inequalities of children when they start school. We will be speaking to parents, children, individuals who work with children, stakeholders and academics during the course of the Review, but would be very glad to hear from anyone who wishes to submit their views for us to consider.

Frank Field


Review update, Nov 2010  

The Review team and I are now busily writing up the final report, which will be submitted to the Prime Minister before Christmas. It has been an interesting, and challenging, few months. Many charities, stakeholders, academics and individuals have made contact with us and submitted their views, and we have also had the opportunity to meet many of them to discuss their submissions and the Review’s own analysis. In addition we have been very fortunate to visit projects, around the UK, that work with some of the most vulnerable children in Britain, to see firsthand how quality services can benefit poorer children by considerably improving their life chances.
It is now time of course to turn our attention to the recommendations in the final report. Since the Review was established our aim has been to build a report about how best to improve life chances for poorer children, and specifically how we can ensure children arrive in class ready to take full advantage of their schooling.
We are looking at how we can build measures of Life Chances to drive policy in the early years, how we can reconstitute early years services into the Foundation Years, and how we, as a nation, can better understand parenting and the importance of nurturing our children both as parents and as a community.
May I take this early opportunity to thank all those who have made contact with the Review? It is my hope that the Government gives serious consideration to the report once it is published.
Frank Field


Final Message, Dec 2010

The Review process has reached its conclusion and I wanted firstly to thank all those individuals, organisations and charities who have contributed to the process as we set about working up a potential new strategy for the Government to abolish child poverty. I have enjoyed meeting many key stakeholders, academics and practitioners during the six months that we have been working on the Review, and not only was it great to witness such enthusiasm professionals hold for the Foundation Years, but without their input the Review would be much the poorer for it.

I should also like to record special thanks to the Review Team: Tim Weedon, Jonathan Portes, Danielle Mason, Lotta Gustafsson, Tim Crosier, Ann Chinner and Stephen Balchin. They were an exceptional team.

The final report is available here and it has been formally submitted to the Prime Minister. We made two overarching recommendations – that the government establish a set of Life Chances Indicators, to measure the attainment of the under 5s and direct resources accordingly, and to establish the Foundation Years, to direct all Government policy for the under 5s. Through these measures the future life chances of all children in this country should be radically improved.

Frank Field