Colleagues will be saddened to learn that John Veit-Wilson died on Sunday, 10 May 2020. John will be remembered as a very kind and generous person with a great intellect, a tremendous scholar who contributed greatly to the discipline and a tireless anti-poverty campaigner. John will be sorely missed. (Chris Deeming, University of Strathclyde)
John was a founding member of the Child Poverty Action Group. He attended the meeting at Toynbee Hall in 1965 that decided to set up the group. It had been convened by John’s mother, Harriett Wilson, a Quaker, sociologist and campaigning author, and Vice-Chair of CPAG until 1981, to discuss the findings of The Poor and the Poorest by Brian Abel Smith and Peter Townsend which had just been published. John was already working with Brian and Peter at the London School of Economics as one of the brilliant group of research assistants for the great study Poverty in the United Kingdom.
John was strongly committed to tackling and preventing poverty. He served CPAG from 1965 to his death. He was a member of the Executive/Board of Trustees for most of that time. He convened the Publications sub-committee, commenting with great attention on drafts of the publications. He was then Convener of the Policy Committee and stayed on as a member after his retirement.
Within CPAG and in his other writing he was a strong advocate of a sociological understanding of poverty in terms of rights and needs, such as budget standards, rather than a reliance on (arbitrary) income thresholds – see especially Setting Adequacy Standards, 1998.
He became a Professor of Social Policy at Northumbria University, then Emeritus Professor, and Visiting Professor at Newcastle University, and was active in welfare rights and CPAG branches in the North East. He was a long-term member of a walking group.
John was divorced and is survived by three children of that marriage. His son Simon cared for him during his final illness.