Chief Executive at Pro Bono Economics
Matt Whittaker is Chief Executive at Pro Bono Economics, a charity that provides other charities across the UK with free economic support via its network of 600+ volunteers. He joined at the end of 2019, having spent the previous 11 years at the Resolution Foundation (RF) – one of the UK’s most influential economic think tanks. Over that time he built RF’s research and policy team from one (him!) to 20, and established a reputation as one of the UK’s leading experts on the subject of income inequality. He started his career working in consultancy, before spending five years working in the House of Commons – working for both the parliamentary research service and the House of Commons select committees. He graduated with a first in Politics and Economics from Sheffield University, having been educated in Stockport at St James School and then at Aquinas College.
Describe what you were like at school in three words?
Naïve, engaged, happy.
What’s the best thing about Manchester?
The music and the nightlife. Growing up, it was always fun wandering into random scruffy looking places and suddenly discovering a great new band. Even now, a night out in Manchester still feels like a big adventure.
What has been your biggest disappointment?
Having worked around politics and inequality for most of my career, I’ve argued unsuccessfully against plenty of bad decisions. But maybe the biggest disappointment is the extent to which class, gender and race continue to play such a big part in how the UK operates.
How do you relax?
I’ve got kids, so there’s no relaxing really… But football’s always been my big passion. And I consider any Sunday that ends without a good (probably foreign) film to be a bit of a waste.
The soundtrack to your life. Which song?
Eton Rifles by The Jam.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
If it was temporary, I’d want to go way back to see what the landscape looked like before humans got involved. If I was going to live in another time, then maybe the 1960s so I could watch England win the World Cup and buy a house for £1.20.
What’s your most over-used phrase?
Life is all about trade-offs.
What advice would you give to your 15 year-old self?
Get a better haircut.
Roast Dinner or Fish ‘n’ Chips?
Fish and chips