Spotlight Debates: Combatting the Cost of Living Crisis

  • etc.venues County Hall
  • Free to attend

Presented by:

Why attend?

A cost of living crisis is what the average UK family is facing this year. According to the ONS prices of everything from food to furniture have increased at their fastest rate in almost three decades. Mortgage rates are rising, along with, inflation, council tax and national insurance. The only things that don’t seem to be keeping up are wages - with pay packets having recently shrunk for the third time in a decade. The current crunch is also set to turn into a catastrophe in April when taxes along with energy bill caps increase. Data shows it is the poorest that will be hardest hit- so what needs to be done to combat the crisis? Is the government’s response of energy loans and council tax rebates enough? 

Current policy proposals range from VAT cuts to energy bills, to calling for a full emergency budget. But will these measures target support at those who need it most, or should more support be given directly through the benefits system? And while the government has the biggest role to play in easing the burden on the average person, what can the private sector do to assist? Now that the focus is shifting from the coronavirus pandemic, we must consider the long term structural changes needed alongside short term measures to combat the cost of living crisis this year.  


All event times are in your local timezone

  • Wed Jun 22nd


Select a speaker to learn more

Tulip Siddiq MP
Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury; MP for Hampstead and Kilburn

As Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Tulip Siddiq leads on developing Labour’s policies for the City and for the financial services regulatory environment. She has a keen interest in the role of financial services in reducing regional inequalities and supporting the transition to a green economy. Tulip is also a passionate campaigner for early years education, mental health and flexible working. She led the campaign to free her constituent Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from imprisonment in Iran. In 2015, Tulip stood in the most marginal seat in the country and remains the MP for Hampstead and Kilburn today.

Next speaker
Dame Clare Moriarty
Chief Executive, Citizens Advice

As Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, Clare leads the national charity and network of local Citizens Advice charities across England & Wales to deliver their objective of giving people the knowledge and confidence they need to find their way forward.

Clare was Permanent Secretary of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2015 to 2019, and of the Department for Exiting the EU until its closure in January 2020. Her early career was spent mainly in the Department of Health and the NHS, with senior roles in the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Transport.

After leaving the Civil Service, Clare chaired the Health Foundation Covid-19 impact inquiry and worked with organisations including Transport for London and the Bank of England. She is a trustee of the History of Parliament Trust, chairs the South Downs Partnership and is a member of numerous advisory and governance boards. Clare was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 2020 Birthday Honours.

Next speaker
Philippe Commaret
Managing Director of Customers, EDF Energy

Philippe Commaret is Managing Director of Customers for EDF in the UK, a position which he assumed in January 2020. This role oversees EDF’s entire residential customer, business customer and wholesale optimisation activities in the UK.

EDF is Britain’s biggest generator of zero carbon electricity, generating zero carbon electricity from wind, nuclear and solar and is one of the largest suppliers to British businesses and a leading supplier of innovative energy solutions. In addition, the company’s energy services business, Imtech, is one of the largest technical service providers in the UK and Ireland.

Philippe joined EDF Group in 2000, prior to this he was a Consultant. He has held various roles within the Customers division in France and was appointed Marketing Director for the B2B market in 2008. In 2014, he moved to Strasbourg, and was appointed Managing Director of ES (Energies Strasbourg), a subsidiary of EDF Group in the East of France (0.5 million customers, mainly dual‐fuel).

Since 2018, he was Director of Sales, East of France, EDF Group. Philippe graduated from Ecole Centrale Paris (1996), he is married and has 3 children.

Next speaker
Alona Ferber (Chair)
Special Projects Editor, New Statesman

Alona Ferber is special projects editor at the New Statesman, where she edits the Spotlight policy vertical. Before joining the New Statesman, she was managing editor at the Tony Blair Institute and a senior editor and reporter for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Next speaker
Gavin Rice
Policy Director, Centre for Social Justice

I have a lifelong devotion to politics and a firm belief that policy informed by sound values can improve UK society for everyone. A key inspiration for me has been seeing the way in which left-behind people and communities – especially those who may not have benefited from the UK political consensus, or from globalisation – have found a new political voice. I am committed to identifying transformative policy ideas with the capacity to help everyone in Britain live a meaningful life and which serve the common good. I believe passionately that family and local community should be the bedrock of our lives.

Before the CSJ I worked in journalism, political consulting, and as a Special Adviser working on Brexit. I am also a veteran of the 2019 Conservative election campaign. I volunteer at a soup kitchen with my parish church and I find the human stories behind the CSJ’s Alliance fundamental to informing policy work. In a previous life I was a teacher in a boarding school, teaching Philosophy, Theology and Ethics. I have been published widely in the Telegraph, ConservativeHome, CapX and Reaction.

Next speaker


EDF is helping Britain achieve Net Zero by leading the transition to a cleaner, low emission electric future and tackling climate change. It is the UK’s largest producer of low-carbon electricity – from eight nuclear power stations, more than thirty onshore wind farms and two offshore wind farms – meeting around one-fifth of the country’s demand.

EDF is leading the UK’s nuclear renaissance with the construction of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C, whilst leading development of plans for a replica at Sizewell C in Suffolk. Both stations will provide low carbon electricity to meet 14% of UK demand and power around 12 million homes.

EDF’s largest offshore wind farm, Neart na Gaoithe, is being built in Scotland and the 450 MW project will be ready in 2023.

EDF is helping its customers, both in business and at home, take their first steps to sustainably powering their lives and EDF’s energy services business, Imtech, is one of the largest technical service providers in the UK and Ireland.

EDF is part of EDF Group, the world’s biggest electricity generator. In the UK, the company employs around 13,000 people at locations across England and Scotland.

Contact Us

If you want to become a sponsor, speak at an event or become a partner, leave a message at the "Partner with us" page and we will contact you as soon as possible.