Commission on Living Standards

Resolution Foundation


Clive Cowdery

Chairman, Resolution Foundation (Commission Chair)

Clive is Chairman of the Resolution Foundation Trustees and Chairman of Resolution Group. He was previously the Chief Executive of Resolution Life Group Limited, a company that he founded in 2003. He was appointed Chairman of Resolution plc in September 2005 following the merger of Britannic Group plc and Resolution Life Group Limited. He started his career in insurance advising clients as a broker and was previously Chairman and Chief Executive of GE's primary insurance operations in Europe. Before joining GE in 1998, he co-founded Scottish Amicable International/Rothschild International, a European cross-border insurance business based in Dublin and formed in 1992.

Phil Bentley

Phil Bentley

Managing Director (British Gas)

Phil Bentley, 52, has been the Managing Director of British Gas since March 2007. Employing 28,000 people in the UK, British Gas is the Number 1 energy and services provider looking after half the homes in Britain. Previously, he was Group Finance Director and Managing Director, Europe of Centrica plc.

Phil joined Centrica in November 2000 from Diageo where he was Global Finance Director for Guinness-UDV.

Phil was previously at BP, where he spent 15 years in senior finance roles, 6 of which were spent in BP’s exploration businesses in China, the US and Egypt.

He holds a Masters Degree from Pembroke College, Oxford University and has an MBA from INSEAD in France. Phil is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and is a member of the Association of Corporate Treasurers.

Until March 2010 he was also a non-Executive Director, and Chairman of the Audit Committee, of Kingfisher plc, the international home improvement retailer.

He is married, with two teenage children and his interests include rugby, golf and horse-riding.


Sir Win Bischoff

Chairman Lloyds Banking Group

Sir Win is chairman of Lloyds Banking Group plc. He was formerly chairman of Citigroup, where he also served as interim CEO in 2007. Prior to this he was Group Chief Executive of Schroders plc, Chairman of Citigroup Europe and a member of The Operating Committee of Citigroup Inc. He is a non-executive director at McGraw-Hill, Eli Lilly and Company, Land Securities, Akbank and Prudential and Chairman of the British educational charity Career Academies UK.


Mike Brewer

Professor, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex

Prior to joining the Institute for Social and Economic Research, mike was Deputy Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies. His research focuses on welfare reform, and the way the tax and benefit system affects families with children. He has taken part in a major evaluation of working families' tax credit and more recently has evaluated the labour market impact of In Work Credit. Other research has looked at fertility and public policy, how women's labour market behaviour changes after they have children, and trends in childcare use. Before working at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, he was an economist at HM Treasury.

Chris Gibson Smith

Chris Gibson-Smith

Chairman, London Stock Exchange plc & The British Land Company PLC

Chris has been Chairman of the London Stock Exchange since 2003. The Exchange administers the largest equities market in Europe covering companies with a market capitalisation of some £4 trillion and annual trading turnover of £4.8 trillion.

Chris became Chairman of The British Land Company PLC in January 2007. British Land is the UK’s second largest property group by market cap and invests in prime commercial property.

He is a Director of the Qatar Financial Centre Authority, and a governor of the London Business School. Chris was Chairman of National Air Traffic Services (NATS) from 2001 – 2005, Group Managing Director of BP from 1997-2001, a Director of Lloyds TSB from 1999 – 2005, and Director of Powergen from 2001-2002.

Gaby Hinsliff

Gaby Hinsliff

Author and former Political Editor, The Observer

Gaby Hinsliff is a writer, blogger and broadcaster on public policy and private lives. She was the political editor of The Observer until November 2009.

Her journalistic career includes 12 years covering politics for The Observer and, before that, The Daily Mail: she now writes for national titles from Grazia to The Guardian, and broadcasts occasionally for the BBC, Sky and others. She has appeared as a pundit on everything from GMTV's breakfast show to Woman's Hour and the Today programme.

Gaby is a trustee of the children's charity 4Children, member of the advisory council for the Centre for Social Justice, and remains involved in Westminster life. She also served on the Family Friendly Working Hours Taskforce established by the Department of Work and Pensions in 2010.

Her first book, Half a Wife, is an exploration of the future of working and family life and will be published by Chatto & Windus in 2012. She blogs at and tweets on politics, family life and everything inbetween at

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson

Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies

Paul has been director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies since January 2011.

He has worked on the economics of public policy throughout his career. As well as a previous spell at the IFS in the 1990s (including a period as deputy director) Paul has been chief economist at the Department for Education and director of public spending in HM Treasury, where he had particular responsibility for environment (including climate change), transport and public sector pay and pensions. Other positions include a period as head of economics at the FSA and as a senior associate with Frontier Economics.

Between 2004 and 2007 Paul was deputy head of the Government Economic Service. He has served on the council of the Economic and Social Research Council and was a founder council member of the Pensions Policy Institute. In 2010 he led a review of the policy of auto-enrolment into pensions for the new government. He has been a member of a number of advisory boards and commissions including the Pension Provision Group, the Commission on taxation and citizenship, the Youth Justice Commission and the Commission on Living Standards. He is currently an editor of the Mirrlees Review of tax economics and policy.

Paul has published and broadcast extensively on numerous issues in the economics of public policy including tax, welfare, pensions, education, climate change and public finances.

Gavin Kelly

Gavin Kelly

Chief Executive, Resolution Foundation

Gavin is a leading media commentator on politics and public policy – writing for the Guardian, Financial Times and Prospect as well as being a regular blogger for the New Statesman. He covers a wide range of issues spanning economic policy, low pay, welfare reform, public services and social mobility. He joined the Foundation from No 10 Downing Street where he worked as Deputy Chief of Staff.  He spent over a decade in Whitehall and was a member of the Council of Economic Advisors at HMT, the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State at the Department for Education and the Department for Communities and Local Government, Deputy Head of the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, and a member of Tony Blair’s Policy Unit. Before working in government Gavin was Director of Research at the ippr and the Fabian Society, and taught economics and politics at the University of Sheffield where he received his doctorate.

Stephen Machin

Professor Stephen Machin

Research Director, Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics

Stephen Machin is Professor of Economics at University College London and Research Director of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics. He is one of the Editors of the Economic Journal. Previously he has been visiting Professor at Harvard University (1993/4) and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2001/2). He is an elected fellow of the British Academy, current President of the European Association of Labour Economists (from 2008) and is a member of the Low Pay Commission.

Julie Moore

Dame Julie Moore

Chief Executive, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB)

Julie is a graduate nurse who worked in clinical practice before moving into management. She was appointed as an Executive Director of Operations at University Hospital Birmingham (UHB) in 2002, subsequently becoming Chief Executive of UHB in 2006.

UHB has 1250 beds, £520m turnover, 6700 staff, treats 700,000 patients annually and has a £545m PFI new hospital building which opened on time and on budget in 2010. In 2008, UHB opened the Learning Hub in partnership with the Learning and Skills Council, which helps long term unemployed people back into work. In 2010, UHB celebrated helping the 1000th person back into work.

Julie was a member of the National Organ Donation Taskforces in 2007 and 2008 and in 2009 was a member of the Nuffield Trust Steering Group on New Frontiers in Efficiency. She is a member of the International Advisory Board of the University of Birmingham Business School, an Independent Member of the Board of the Office for Strategic Co-ordination of Health Research (OSCHR), a member of the MoD/DH Partnership Board overseeing health care of military personnel, a member on the Commission on Living Standards undertaken by the Resolution Foundation and a Board Member of Marketing Birmingham, a strategic partnership to drive the inward investment strategy for the city. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

In April 2011 she was asked by the Government to be a member of the NHS Future Forum to lead on the proposals for Education and Training reform.

Julie was made a dame for services to health in the 2012 new year's honours list.


Chris Nicholson

Chris sat on the Commission until March 2012, as Director and Chief Executive of the CentreForum think tank. Chris was then appointed a Special Advisor at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, so stepped down to avoid a conflict of interest.

Prior to CentreForum, Chris worked at KPMG. He led the firm's public sector practice from 2004 to 2008 and served on the global public sector management team.

He spent the first five years of his career as a Government economist in the Department of Trade and Industry specialising in regional policy and government assistance to industry.

He has served as a member of IPPR's Commission on Public Private Partnerships, the Liberal Democrats Huhne Commission on Public Service Reform and chaired the Home Office's Reducing Re-offending Corporate Alliance Employers Group.

He has also been a trustee of Kaleidoscope and from 1982-91 he was a Liberal (then Liberal Democrat) Councillor in the London Borough of Kingston upon Thames, including a period as Leader of the Council.

Frances O'Grady

Frances O'Grady

General Secretary Designate, Trades Union Congress

Frances became TUC General Secretary Designate in September 2012 and will be the first female General Secretary of the TUC. From January 2003 she was Deputy General Secretary of the TUC having lead responsibility for a wide range of key areas of policy development across the TUC’s work including organising, inter-union relations, learning and skills, pay and the environment. Frances was appointed to the Low Pay Commission in April 2007 and, more recently, to the High Pay Commission. She is a member of the Green Economy Council, the Apprenticeship Ambassadors’ Network and the Skills Funding Agency Advisory Group.

You can find out more about the TUC at:


Ben Page

Chief Executive, Ipsos MORI

Ben Page is Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI and sits on the Global Ipsos Management Council. He joined MORI in 1987 after graduating from Oxford University in 1986, and was one of the leaders of its first management buyout in 2000.

Since 1992 Ben has worked extensively with both Conservative and Labour ministers, leading the work of the Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute looking at issues such quality of life, welfare reform, well-being, and the effectiveness of public services for the Cabinet Office, CLG, Home Office and the Department of Health.

Named one of the "100 most influential people in the public sector" by the Guardian, and one of the 50 "most influential" by both Local Government Chronicle and the Health Service Journal, he is a winner of a British Market Research Association (BMRA) award and a 2005 Market Research Society (MRS) medal.

Sally Russell

Sally Russell

Co-founder and Director, Netmums

Sally Russell started out as an academic, first as a lecturer at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and later as Research Fellow at Imperial College, London. She researched and taught sustainability management including public participation and was responsible for a number of pioneering projects in computer-based teaching.

After a break to look after her two children, she co-founded Netmums (, a community-based network for parents, now with over 1 million members across the country, and with 2 million visitors a month. It is the only online resource that contains comprehensive local information for parents, allowing mothers to make friends within their own communities.

She has been responsible for the development of online support services, including the creation of a series of courses for parents aimed at changing behaviours around relationships and parenting, and a service that has professionals talking to parents in a chat Forum. The organisation has also been heralded by observers as an effective e-democracy organisation - bringing together the voices of many thousands of parents and finding new ways to shape and enhance public services.

Sally is responsible for the website's content and external affairs, including research and campaigning work. She was a member of the Government's Power of Information Task Force and the Cabinet Office Innovators Council and currently sits on the NHS Direct Innovation Committee.

James Plunkett

James Plunkett

Secretary to the Commission on Living Standards

James was Secretary to the Commission on Living Standards, overseeing the Commission’s work at the Resolution Foundation. He joined the Resolution Foundation in October 2010, prior to which he was a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. From 2008 to 2009 James worked in the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street. He has also worked in the Cabinet Office and as a strategy consultant in the private sector. James is now Director of Policy and Development at the Resolution Foundation. He is a regular contributor to the print and broadcast media and writes for a wide range of blogs.

Follow James on twitter at: @jamestplunkett