“…As one of our founders, and latterly president, Peter Townsend held a special place in the hearts of Child Poverty Action Group members. He still made the occasional visit to our offices, joining in with the policy debates, urging us to think more radically and be more visionary. Unfailingly courteous, his contributions were nonetheless invariably challenging. I often felt that Peter thought we just weren't quite bold enough. Perhaps he was right about that.
His early campaigning at CPAG for increases in the incomes of the poorest families bears a striking resemblance to the campaign demands of the charity today. The calls in CPAG's recent 2009 Manifesto to “reduce reliance on means-tested benefits, increase universal child benefit and provide more help for the unemployed, disabled and lone parents” repeat many of the arguments that appeared in the CPAG manifesto of 1969.
No wonder that after 40 years Peter was impatient for us to go faster, determined that we should not let another generation of children experience the scarring damage of poverty. A conversation with him was always a pleasure. His interests were wide-ranging, though this meant discussions could veer off course. But this only helped to give new and more imaginative perspectives on familiar problems: with Peter there was always a new angle to think about - usually with the realisation that he was absolutely right…”