Social Progress in Britain (2019)

On Tuesday 18 June, we will be hosting the launch of Social Progress in Britain, by the sociologist and economist, Professor Anthony Heath.

In this book, Professor Heath and his team of researchers at the Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College, Oxford, explore social change, integration and social disadvantage, since the landmark Beveridge Report published by the wartime coalition government in 1942.

The book examines how far Britain has come, in terms of progress against the ‘five giants on the road to reconstruction' that Sir William Beveridge outlined: Want; Disease; Ignorance; Squalor; Idleness. The team also examine new new 'giants': Unfairness and Discord.

Social Progress in Britain compares the British context with social progress in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden and the USA.

It addresses questions such as:

  • Has Britain been slipping behind in terms of social progress, internationally?

  • What has been the impact of the increased economic inequality which Britain experienced in the 1980s?

  • Have there been increasing inequalities of opportunity between social classes, men and women, and different ethnic groups?

  • What are the implications for Britain’s sense of social cohesion?

'Compulsory reading for all policymakers'

Commenting on the new publication, Chuka Umunna MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration, said: 'Social Progress in Britain shows both where we have moved forward and where we have slipped up. We all need to pay attention and raise our game.'

Iqbal Wahhab, Chair of the National Independent Advisory Group, Action on Race Equality in the Criminal Justice System, commented: 'Anthony Heath has challenged the cosy assumptions about Britain steadily becoming a fairer place for all to live and prosper in... this book shows that on key social performance indicators like life expectancy or racial discrimination, we are failing to fix disadvantage. We must all sit up, learn, and act on change'.

Stephen Aldridge, Director for Analysis and Data at the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government, added: 'Social Progress in Britain should be compulsory reading for all policymakers, indeed for anyone who wants better to understand the trends in and drivers of social progress'.

Book launch

The launch at Cumberland Lodge will begin with a drinks reception with light refreshments, followed by a panel discussion with our three guest speakers:

  • Professor Anthony Heath - Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Nuffield College

  • Tom Clark - Editor of Prospect magazine

  • Professor Pat Thane - Author of Divided Kingdom: A History of Britain 1900 to the Present, Research Professor at King's College London, and Professor Emerita of the University of London.

For enquiries about this event, please email our Programme team at

We will be filming and recording the event for publication online, and tweeting at #SocialProgressBritain.

Event Type: 

Dates and times

From: 18 Jun 2019 - 6:00pm
To: 18 Jun 2019 - 8:00pm