• We draw on deep backgrounds in economics and politics to bring you solutions that work in today’s political climate.
  • We draw on deep backgrounds in economics and politics to bring you solutions that work in today’s political climate.

People

Matthew Oakley – Director

Matthew is a trusted economist, policy analyst and advisor, having spent two decades working in and around policy making, economics and data in Westminster. He is closely involved in projects right across WPI’s portfolio. He leads work on microeconomic, policy and data projects, including the Poverty Strategy Commission and on tax reform and social value.
Before founding WPI Economics Matthew was Chief Economist and Head of Financial Services Policy at Which? and, previously, Head of Economics and Social Policy at the think tank Policy Exchange. He started his career with eight years as an economist at the Treasury, working mainly on tax strategy and labour market policy, including on the response to the financial crisis. Matthew also led the Independent Review of Jobseeker’s Allowance sanctions that reported to Parliament in 2014. He holds an MSc in Economics from University College London.

matthew@wpieconomics.com  @mj_oakley

Laura Osborne – Managing Director

Laura is an experienced strategist, communicator, campaigner and author. At WPI Economics, her focus is on impact, growth, quality and client satisfaction; she is also leading on our work to achieve B-Corp certification. Laura has experience in government, not-for-profit, and commercial organisations, including the Department of Business, Which? and broadband-challenger CityFibre. Prior to joining us, she was Managing Director (Corporate Affairs) of BusinessLDN (formerly London First), where she drove its cross-cutting policy campaigns and led its communications, commercial events and marketing teams. Interested in the role of business in society, Laura is co-author of the Penguin Random House business title, Poles Apart, Why People Turn Against Each Other, and How to Bring Them Together.

laura.osborne@wpieconomics.com

Rob Fontana-Reval – Chief Economist

Rob is a highly experienced economist, who has spent over a decade working at the heart of government on the biggest economic issues facing the UK. As our Chief Economist, Rob leads our economics insight and analysis, ensuring that all our work is high quality, innovative and policy-relevant. Before joining us, Rob was Chief Economist in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, where he oversaw the economic analysis of major policy proposals. Prior to that, Rob spent nine years at the Treasury, over two stints, where he built broad and deep macroeconomic expertise and, as a senior civil servant from 2018, led major analyses of Brexit, Covid and net zero. Rob has also headed up the economic and fiscal team of a business group, worked in a Brussels-based think-tank and in local government. He holds an MSc in Economics & Public Policy from the University of Bristol.

rob.fontana-reval@wpieconomics.com

James Edgar – Senior Adviser

Previously our Chief Economist, James now has a new role as Senior Adviser, allowing him to focus on contributing his expertise to specific projects, business strategy and to building the team’s depth of skills. James’ areas of expertise include transport, utility regulation, consumer policy, environmental and digital issues. Prior to joining us, James was Head of Policy for Digital and Regulation at the consumer champion Which? and before that, worked for a decade at the Department for Transport, including as the Head of Road Economics. James previously worked at the Bank of England and has a Masters in Economics from UCL.

 

james.edgar@wpieconomics.com

Guy Weir – Head of Data Insights

Guy is a quantitative researcher/data analyst with extensive experience delivering research and insight within government, academic, policy and advocacy contexts. He leads our data insights team at WPI overseeing work including London’s Poverty Profile, and the Health Foundation’s Evidence Hub. An accredited ONS researcher, he is fluent in the statistical programming language R. Before WPI Economics, Guy was Principal Statistician in the Policy Research team at Which?, and prior to that covered issues such as the labour market, deprivation, neighbourhood regeneration, and offending in his ten years working in Government for Home Office, ONS, and DCLG. In between, he undertook a MSc in the Cognitive Psychology of Music with his research published in Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain.

guy.weir@wpieconomics.com

Joe Ahern – Director of Policy


Joe is an experienced policy professional, having worked in and around the policy world for close to a decade. He leads on policy analysis and development at WPI Economics, specialising in projects related to net zero, climate adaptation, and financial services. Joe oversees evidence reviews, qualitative research, policy development, and influencing work for clients across the private, public and third sectors. Before joining WPI Economics, he spent five years working in a range of roles at the Association of British Insurers.

joe.ahern@wpieconomics.com

Naoko Skiada – Senior Data Insights Analyst


Naoko’s background is in academic, local government and charity sector research. She is a skilled data analyst and has experience in experiment and survey design. While at WPI, she has worked on the London Poverty Profile and the Health Foundation’s Evidence Hub. Before joining WPI Economics, Naoko was an Insight Analyst at Which?, where she worked closely with policy and campaigns teams, leading analyses on topics such as rail, personal finance and health amongst others. In between the two, she completed an MSc in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

naoko.skiada@wpieconomics.com

Celia Lam – Senior Economics Consultant

Celia is a Senior Economist at WPI Economics, responsible for economic modelling and forecasting, data analysis, and presenting the findings in a non-technical and visually-appealing way. She has worked on transport tax reforms in the UK, jobs affected by net zero transition in West Yorkshire, and the impact of raising charges at an Australian airport, among other projects. Before joining WPI Economics, Celia led the Economic Research Department at The Bank of East Asia in Hong Kong, where she worked on macroeconomic research, data projections and policy proposals to governments. She graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a Master’s degree in Economics.

celia.lam@wpieconomics.com

Ciara Walker – Senior Consultant

Ciara is an experienced economic advisor and consultant with a background in construction, infrastructure and innovation consultancy. Skilled in translating economic data into impactful reports and simplifying complex concepts to provide useful insight, she is dedicated to helping clients gain a deeper understanding of the economic and policy implications of world events and government decisions. She has managed complex projects for a range of clients at WPI, including Splunk and Green Alliance, and specialises in coordinating diverse skill sets to achieve a common goal. Prior to her work at WPI, Ciara specialised in forecasting and economic advisory within the construction sector for eight years. She holds an MSc in Development Economics and Emerging Markets from the University of York.

ciara.walker@wpieconomics.com

Edward McPherson – Senior Consultant

Edward is a Senior Consultant at WPI Economics, with experience of policy research and quantitative methods, including statistical modelling and micro-simulation. Edward leads the quantitative research stream of the Poverty Strategy Commission. Prior to joining WPI Economics, he supported the work of the Poverty Strategy Commission and Social Metrics Commission as an analyst for the Legatum Institute. He previously worked as a data analyst, building statistical time-series revenue forecasts for clients. Edward holds a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Warwick, and is experienced with the programming language Python and the statistics software Stata.

edward.mcpherson@wpieconomics.com

Julia Wyjadlowska – Senior Consultant


Julia is an experienced data analyst and economist. She leads on WPI’s work on the GLA’s Civic Strength Index and contributes to other flagship WPI projects, including London Poverty Profile and the Health Foundation Evidence Hub. Julia is an ONS accredited researcher, and is fluent in R, STATA and other statistical software. She graduated from Warwick University with an MSc in Behavioural and Economic Science and received the award for best overall performance in the economics department. She has experience in experimental economics and psychology, including running a large experiment to investigate the effect of beliefs in karmic justice on honesty.

julia.wyjadlowska@wpieconomics.com

Lucy Peel – Consultant Economist

Lucy is an economist at WPI Economics. After finishing her undergraduate Economics degree at Durham University, Lucy worked in an economic and financial consultancy. She assisted with the preparation of business cases, which used the HM Treasury Five Cases approach to determine the allocation of public and private sector funding, as well as carrying out qualitative research and quantitative data collection to help with the preparation of reports. Lucy subsequently studied for her MSc Economics at the University of Liverpool, where she deepened her knowledge of both micro and macroeconomic topics. She also developed her econometrics skills, using Stata, Python and EViews for data analyses.

lucy.peel@wpieconomics.com

Matthew Beebee – Senior Consultant


Matthew joined WPI Economics in 2022 as a Consultant, with a focus on qualitative research and policy analysis. He has extensive experience of working with a range of qualitative methods and sources, including semi-structured interviews, focus groups, open-ended questionnaires and ethnographic observations. Matthew leads and coordinates the qualitative and participatory research for two of WPI’s flagship poverty projects: the Poverty Strategy Commission and the Carer Poverty Commission. In addition, he provides evidence reviews, qualitative research and policy analysis/development for other projects focused on poverty and inequalities, skills and employment, local growth and net zero. Alongside his role at WPI Economics, Matthew is completing an AHRC-funded PhD at the University of Exeter exploring how the process of deindustrialisation has transformed aspects of everyday life in formerly industrial areas of England since the 1960s. He holds an MPhil in Modern British History from the University of Cambridge, with an article based on this research winning the Labour History Review’s 2019 Essay Prize. He graduated with a First-Class BA in Politics from Durham University in 2015 and between his BA and MPhil, he worked as a policy researcher for a public affairs consultancy.

matthew.beebee@wpieconomics.com

Arushi Chitrao – Consultant


Arushi joined WPI Economics as a Consultant in 2022. She is a government and public sector consultant with several years of experience working in different geographic and policy contexts. She is proficient in various primary research methods including structured and semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and exploratory research. Her work at WPI focuses on qualitative research, policy analysis and development. She has been involved in a range of diverse project areas that include Reforming Transport Tax for the Net Zero Transition, Policy Recommendations for a Smooth Transition into Retirement in 2050s and Mapping Councils’ Future Role in Driving Growth and Prosperity. Before joining WPI Economics, Arushi was Senior Consultant in the Economic Development Advisory of Ernst & Young (EY) India. Her areas of work include policy research and development, ease of doing business advisory and investment promotion. She has a background in Architecture, with a B.Arch from Manipal University, India and also holds an MSc in Urban Management from TU Berlin, Germany.

arushi.chitrao@wpieconomics.com

Matthew Tibbles – Consultant

Matthew graduated from the University of Kent having studied Classics and International Relations. As a Consultant at WPI Economics, Matthew sits across the consulting and data insights teams, providing qualitative and quantitative analysis for WPI’s work on the green economy, as well as the Poverty Strategy Commission and other major projects. He is fluent in a number of statistical programming languages, with a special interest in experimental quantitative methods and data visualisation. He has published a research paper in The Stata Journal, detailing a novel method for creating insets plots in Stata.

 

matthew.tibbles@wpieconomics.com

Marc Brazzill – Data Insights Consultant

Marc is an experienced policy researcher and joined us in 2022 as a Data Insights Analyst. Since joining the team, he has lead our survey analysis on an agenda-setting piece of work on employee ownership, worked with the Trust for London to explore what the Census tells us about poverty and deprivation in London and has developed a dashboard on the wider determinants of health in local authorities for the Health Foundation. Marc has a B.A. in Japanese Studies and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Waseda University, Tokyo. After graduation, Marc worked as an Assistant Professor at Waseda University and Osaka University where his research focused on higher education policy in the United Kingdom and Japan, and public opinion towards social and welfare policy.

marc.brazzill@wpieconomics.com

 

Nick Faith – Associate Director

Nick is the co-founder of WPI Strategy, and a recognised expert in political communications and media strategy. Prior to founding WPI Strategy, he spent four years as the Director of Communications at Policy Exchange, helping the organisation gain its position as the UK’s leading think tank. He is also a prolific writer and blogger and is regularly cited in the national media, including the Sunday Telegraph, The Times, the Financial Times and on the BBC. Prior to Policy Exchange, Nick advised senior business leaders and international businesses on policy and media issues during his six years as a consultant with a leading communications agency.

nick@wpi-strategy.com @nickfaith82

Sean Worth – Associate Director

Sean is the co-founder of WPI Strategy, and leads work on policy analysis and political engagement. Sean spent a decade working in politics, latterly as a Downing Street special adviser in the Coalition Government, where he worked across a range of domestic policy areas and Whitehall departments. Prior to government, Sean was head of the Conservative Party’s Policy Unit and worked for the Party through two general elections. His industry experience also includes senior roles in the communications sector advising some of the highest-profile commercial brands on government relations and on managing policy and regulatory change.

 

sean@wpi-strategy.com  @SeanWorthUK

Steve Hughes – Senior Economic Adviser

Steve was previously the Head of Economic and Social Policy at the think tank Policy Exchange, and published reports on increasing savings rates and reducing youth unemployment. Before Policy Exchange he worked at the Bank of England, where he helped manage the regulatory system that governs cash distribution in the UK. He has previously worked an economist at the British Chambers of Commerce where he advised on tax, international trade and SME finance policy, and in Parliament, where he researched HM Treasury and Department for Work and Pensions legislation as it passed through the House of Commons.

 

steve.hughes@wpieconomics.com  @sc_hughes

Jane Brown – Digital Assistant

Jane is our digital assistant, supporting the team on report publications, social media updates, database management, newsletters and website content. Jane started working with us earlier this year on a part-time basis, and is an experienced virtual assistant, with many years of administration experience in the fields of law and financial PR in Asia, Europe and of course the UK.

 

 

jane.brown@wpieconomics.com

Yvonne Phillips – Consultant People Director

Yvonne is our Consultant People Director, supporting us on a part-time basis with all matters relating to HR and good management policies on an operational and strategic level. She also supports our employee training programme, giving our team access to a wider range of opportunities. Yvonne has over 30 years’ experience and now runs her own business (Olyvetree HR), which will have been established for 10 years in 2024.

 

yvonne.phillips@wpieconomics.com