Wandsworth Cost of Living Commission

In response to the current cost of living crisis we have made a public commitment to support residents who are impacted by the cost of living crisis and immediate action is being taken.

However, we are clear that we don't have all the answers and that long term change and action is required to support residents with this and any future crisis. Therefore, we have decided to hold an independent Cost of Living Commission, which will listen to residents and local organisations as well as looking at all available data and research, in order to identify potential actions that we, our partners, the wider community and regional and national government may be able to take.

The Commission has completed the evidence gathering part of its programme of work. It has developed the final report and recommendations which were presented to the Wandsworth Council Finance Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on Thursday 30 November 2023.

On this page:

Objectives of the commission

The core task of the commission is to determine what actions Wandsworth can take, in the long term, to mitigate the cost-of-living crisis for borough residents.

The objectives are:

  • To examine and define the multiple factors which are driving the cost-of-living crisis in Wandsworth
  • To review a national and local evidence base of literature, studies and commissions looking at the causes and impacts of the cost-of-living crisis
  • To engage with local Wandsworth communities using a place-based approach to gather views, information, and solutions at a community level
  • To consider the whole system drivers and impacts and develop system-based solutions
  • To develop a series of long- and medium-term recommendations which can be used to inform systemic changes in Wandsworth
  • Where appropriate, to use these recommendations as the basis for representations to regional and national government policy and civil society measures and interventions which would support Wandsworth citizens impacted by the cost-of-living crisis

Read Terms of Reference.

Final report

The final report was published in November 2023 and provides a summary of the approach taken by the Commission using a place-based process to gather evidence, insights and lived experience examples of the impact of the cost of living changes for Wandsworth residents.

The Commission's recommendations aim to address the issues that were highlighted, focusing on the key elements of the cost of living (housing, food, energy and transport) along with a cross-cutting theme looking at systemic issues in Wandsworth and other aspects such as household income, access to childcare and impact on health and wellbeing.

Interim report

This interim report published in July 2023 gives an overview of the progress so far, the evidence collected, and outlines the short-term recommendations from the commission at the halfway point. It also outlines the longer-term recommendations that are being further developed in the second half of the Commission’s work programme.

The Wandsworth Cost of Living Commission Interim Report is included in the agenda for the Finance Committee on 6 July 2023, where you can find further information on the council's response to the Commission's recommendations.

Schedule of meetings

The first meeting to launch the commission took place on Tuesday 22 November 2022.

Evidence gathering session 1

The second meeting was held on Thursday 15 December 2022. This was the first evidence gathering session for the commission. Residents were invited to come along to the evidence gathering sessions, observe and listen to the discussion and share their thoughts afterwards through the upcoming online consultation.

Evidence gathering session 1:

Evidence gathering session 2

The second evidence gathering session was held on Tuesday 28 February 2023 in Roehampton.

Evidence gathering session 3

The third evidence gathering session was held on Thursday 27 April 2023 in Tooting.

Evidence gathering session 4

The fourth evidence gathering session was held on Monday 26 June 2023 in Earlsfield.

Evidence gathering session 5

The fifth evidence gathering session was held on Tuesday 18 July 2023 in Balham.

Evidence gathering session 6

The sixth evidence gathering session was held on Thursday 7 September 2023 in Putney.

The commissioners

Meet the Cost of Living commissioners:

Ian Tattum, Joint chair

Ian was born in Bletchley. He worked as a clerical officer, a cook, cleaner and gardener, and in a charity working with men suffering from mental health in Brixton, before being ordained in the Church of England 32 years ago. He has obtained degrees in History and Theology. Ian is the Chair of Governors at Riversdale Primary School and has just stepped down as Area Dean of Wandsworth, gaining extensive knowledge of and building strong networks within the community in Wandsworth. He has served as Chaplain to the Mayor of Wandsworth three times. Ian regularly writes articles, book reviews and poems, mainly about Natural History and is a volunteer with GlassDoor Night Shelter.

Dorian Leatham, Joint chair

Dorian is a people-orientated senior executive leader and trusted board advisor who demonstrates a flair for driving transformational change in a range of different environments. As an experienced board member, non-executive director, trustee and panel member, Dorian influences policy decisions and heads up the development of national strategies that address some of the most fundamental issues such as diversity, equality and housing provision. Dorian has held senior executive positions in several London boroughs, including Lambeth, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Croydon. He is also an experienced non-executive director having been on several boards.

Councillor Kemi Akinola, Vice chair

Kemi Akinola is Deputy leader of Wandsworth Council and cabinet member for the Voluntary Sector, Business and Culture. She is the founder of the charity Be Enriched and a Director of Brixton People's Kitchen, which were set up to tackle food insecurity, social exclusion and food waste in the Wandsworth and Lambeth areas, through Community Canteens and London's first ever Food Bus, an on-board grocery store and café that brings affordable food to those in need. Kemi is also a trustee of the Independent Food Aid Trust, a director for Putney BID, a governor of South Thames College, and chair of Lambeth Food Partnership. She is a recent recipient of the Chris Herries Award for Co-operative Values.

Dame Cathy Warwick

Cathy has lived in Wandsworth for forty three years. After studying for a degree in nursing at Edinburgh University she came to London to train as a midwife and has worked in health related roles ever since. Her last full time post was as Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives. She is now a Non Executive Director on the Board of Kingston Hospital and is Chair of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. She has extensive experience of policy development in health services. Cathy is also an active volunteer in the borough.

Gillian Norton

Gillian was appointed Chairman of St Georges University Hospital in April 2017, having been a Non Executive Director since June 2016. She spent her executive career in local government, serving as Chief Executive for a total of 23 years, the last 17 of which were in London Borough of Richmond. She is also Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Richmond and was awarded OBE for services to local government. In October 2019, Gillian also became Chairman of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust. She is also a Member of the Government Commission on COVID Commemoration.

Tylor-Maria Johnson

Tylor-Maria is a Senior Policy and Data Analyst at Policy in Practice. She is leading Policy in Practice’s current analysis of how the cost of living crisis is affecting low income households across the UK and has published three blogs featuring her work. She has contributed to analyses on the impact of inflation and the energy price cap rise for recent work commissioned by the Centre for Social Justice. Tylor-Maria has written for Quidsin Magazine about the take-up of Healthy Start Vouchers and presented on webinars and at the IRRV Spring and Autumn Series 2022 about maximising the income of households on Universal Credit. She has a deep understanding of the policy and administrative factors that generate low take up of benefits from her postgraduate studies, complimented by her knowledge of benefits programmes in the UK.

Lauren James

Lauren is a Senior Consultant at MP Smarter Travel, a sustainable transport consultancy based in London. Through her role, she works with schools, businesses, and local community groups to help promote sustainable transport as a key mode of travel, in turn influencing modal shift and improving health, air quality and the environment for all. Lauren has a particular interest in working with disadvantaged groups within communities, or those that are often under-represented in active travel. Through targeted engagement she works with these groups to reduce their barriers to walking and cycling.

Toby Costin

Toby is one of the Directors at Crew Energy, a local community benefit society. CREW has been running energy advice and fuel poverty assistance services since 2017. The group currently runs a weekly energy café at the Climate Hub in Southside Shopping Centre. They also have a partnership project called SW Leap with a charity called Habitats & Heritage. This service offers pop up energy cafes, home visits and telephone support.  CREW is also working with Wandsworth Council and the GLA's Better Futures programme to offer energy advice to businesses across London, who may also be struggling with the energy crisis.

Alex Colás

Alex is Professor of International Relations at the Department of Politics in Birkbeck College, University of London where he directs the MSc in Food, Politics and Society and the MSc in International Security and Global Governance. He is co-author of the book Food, Politics and Society: Social Theory and the Modern Food System, and has written several articles on the Right to Food in the UK, including most recently with Jason Edwards, The Everyday Economy and the Right to Food. Alex co-founded the Brent Right to Food campaign in 2021 and is a member of the Brent Food Aid Network.

Arshad Daud

Arshad is Chair of Balham Mosque & Tooting Islamic Centre, Chair of Balham and Tooting Community Association and Trustee at Al Risalah Education Trust. He is a Community Leader & Board level professional based in South London. He has been serving the local community in Balham and Tooting for 35 years in various capacities. He has a keen focus on initiatives that create positive outcomes for local residents, businesses and not for profit organisations. Arshad is also a Programme Director and Professional Services consultant by profession, currently heading up an Information/Data Systems team for a national Health Charity.

Tim Lang

Tim Lang has been Professor of Food Policy at City University’s Centre for Food Policy since 2002. For the last 38 years, Tim has engaged in public and academic research and debate about food policy. He has extensive experience as an advisor to various bodies, including the World Health Organisation, four House of Commons Select Committee inquiries, and the Mayor of London. His main interest is how food policy addresses the mixed challenges of the environment, health, social justice, and citizens, exploring where the public interest lies within this and how different policy positions are addressed. He has written and co-written many articles, reports, chapters, and books.

Youth Council Representatives

Wandsworth Youth Council is a group of 30 young people who work together to ensure young people's voices are heard by politicians and decision makers. The Council is made up of young people who are interested in developing campaigns and projects about issues that are important to them and ensuring that every young person can have a say in decisions that affect them. Every two years, they discuss and agree on a new manifesto to work on. A representative from the Council will attend the commission, allowing the voice of young people in the borough to be consistently considered throughout this work.

Kath McDonnell

As an employee of Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union Council, Kath represents around 25000 trade union members who live and work within the borough. One of their aims is to improve generally the economic and social conditions of all working people, including seeking improvements to the social services, public education, housing, and health. Kath is a member of GMB trade union and a previous RMT member.

Beverley Corson

CEO of Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce.

Liz Moreton

Director of Creativity and Social Change, Battersea Arts Centre. 

Contact the commission

If you have any questions about the commission, or want to find out how you can get involved and have your views heard, you can email wandsworthcommission@wandsworth.gov.uk.