Centre for Policy Studies
|Type||Public policy think tank|
|Headquarters||57 Tufton Street|
The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) is a free-market British policy think tank whose goal is to promote coherent and practical public policy, to roll back the state, reform public services, support communities, and challenge threats to Britain’s independence. Although identified as non-partisan, the Centre has strong historical links to the Conservative Party.
It was co-founded by Conservatives Sir Keith Joseph, Alfred Sherman and Margaret Thatcher in 1974 to champion economic liberalism in Britain and has since played a global role in the dissemination of free market economics along monetarist and, what today would be called, neoliberal lines. Its policy proposals are claimed to be based on the principles of individual choice and responsibility. It also asserts that it prioritises the concepts of duty, family, liberty, and the rule of law. The CPS has a stated goal of serving as the champion of the small state.
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The CPS soon drove for a reassessment of Conservative economic policy during their period in opposition from 1974–1979. It was during this period that the CPS released its landmark reports, such as Stranded on the Middle Ground? Reflections on Circumstances and Policies and "Monetarism is Not Enough" (1974 and 1976). "Monetarism is Not Enough" was described by Margaret Thatcher as “one of the very few speeches which have fundamentally affected a political generation's way of thinking.". Keith Joseph’s keynote speeches, also published by the CPS, aimed to lead the way in changing the climate of opinion in Britain and set the intellectual foundations for the free market reforms of the 1980s. In 1981 Sherman brought the Swiss monetarist Jurg Niehans over to Britain to advise on economic management. Niehans wrote a report critical of the government's economic management that was crucial in influencing the change of policy in the 1981 budget; this tightened the government's fiscal stance to make possible a looser monetary policy. However Hugh Thomas, who had been appointed Chairman of the CPS in 1979 was finding Sherman impossible to work with. In the summer of 1983, following a row over the relationship of the CPS with the Conservative Party, Sherman was summarily sacked from the CPS in a "virulent" letter from Thomas.
The CPS did not consciously represent itself as a partisan institute; ‘blame’ for the collectivist post-war consensus was placed on both sides of the political parties for operating within the same ideological framework. The CPS continually advocated a liberal economic approach and was hugely influential during Margaret Thatcher’s administration, operating as a key driving force towards her hallmark policies of privatisation, deregulation and monetarism
In her own words, its job was to 'expose the follies and self-defeating consequences of government intervention....'to think the unthinkable'. In 1982, it released Telecommunications in Britain, which urged the Government to embrace a fuller agenda of privatization in the telecoms sector. The paper recommended the privatization of British Telecom and the introduction of competition to the sector –both of which were implemented. Another key publication was The Performance of the Privatised Industries (1996) – a four volume statistical analysis which showed how the privatization agenda had benefitted the consumer by ushering in lower prices and higher quality service. It argued that the taxpayer had benefitted greatly from privatisation – not just from the initial windfall from receipts, but also from higher tax revenues than had ever been received from the same companies when they were in state ownership.
According to the 2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania), CPS is number 89 (of 150) in the "Top Think Tanks Worldwide (U.S. and non-U.S.)" and number 69 (of 80) in the "Top Think Tanks in Western Europe".
In 2009, the CPS celebrated its 35th anniversary for which the Leader of the Opposition, David Cameron MP, gave a speech highlighting the role the CPS played in the Conservative Party’s victory in the 1979 election crediting them with ‘a great rebirth of intellectual ideas, of intellectual vigour, and of intellectual leadership’
In September 2011 the CPS published "Guilty Men" by Peter Oborne and Frances Weaver. The report sought to identify the politicians, institutions and commentators who the authors felt had tried to take Britain into the European single currency and claims to expose the "often unscrupulous and vicious personal attacks" carried out by the Euro supporters. Oborne particularly identifies William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Owen as three voices of opposition to early Euro entry that suffered personal attacks from these sources.
Dominic Raab MP's November 2011 paper 'Escaping the Strait Jacket' called for the number one economic and social priority for the Coalition beyond deficit reduction to be to encourage job creation. He called for 10 employment regulation reforms, including excluding small businesses from a range of regulations and creating a new 'no fault dismissal', recommendations that have found much support in the Conservative Party.
'How to Cut Corporation Tax' by David Martin and 'Taxing Mansions: the taxation of high value property' by Lucian Cook were published prior to the Budget 2012 and were successful in their respective arguments for a lower rate of corporation tax and arguing against the proposed 'mansion tax'.
George Trefgarne's 'Metroboom: lessons from Britain’s recovery in the 1930s' sought to revise the perception of the decade as universally destitute, a view often espoused by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls. Trefgarne presented a BBC Daily Politics Soapbox piece on the recovery experienced under the National Government of the time.
In May 2012, Ryan Bourne and Thomas Oechsle published 'Small is a Best', a statistical report that outlined the case that economies with small governments tend to grow faster than those with big governments. A short animated summary of this paper was a YouTube success for the think tank, receiving over 11,000 views.
In June 2012, the CPS published Tim Morgan's 'The Quest for Change and Renewal', a paper in which the author sets out how to 'rescue capitalism and re-empower the individual to a build a winning centre-right ideology'.
CapX was founded by the Centre for Policy Studies on June 21, 2014 in collaboration with Signal Media. On January 28, 2015 a new site was launched for CapX. Lord Saatchi, chairman of the Centre for Policy Studies, commented on its launch, "CapX, the first global digital think tank, has been designed to show how popular capitalism can work to the benefit of all. We hope it will make a difference."
Economy – The CPS ‘believes in regulation that does not inhibit the growth of business, taxes that do not act as a disincentive to work or to investment in the UK, and a leaner more effective state that avoids unnecessary intervention in the economy’.
Family – The CPS advocates that fiscal policy should be reformed to support marriage through the tax system and to remove the welfare penalty on two-parent families. State intervention in family life should focus on protection of vulnerable children; it should not extend to managing their day-to-day lives and removing responsibility and judgment from parents.
Energy – Recent CPS publications have argued that the UK must develop its nuclear, clean coal (including coal gasification) and efficient renewable supplies of energy.
Public Services – The CPS has been a consistent advocate for greater choice and diversity of provision, opening up state monopolies to new providers and putting greater power and responsibility in the hands of parents and patients.
Drugs – The CPS’ Prison and Addiction forum (PANDA) was set up in 2008. It provides an independent forum of debate about drugs policy for academics, practitioners, psychiatrists, and specialist commentators. Its aim is to identify the reforms required in the UK to get our drug problem under control, to prevent drug use and to offer substance abusers the help and necessary care to combat their abuse.
Broadcasting – The CPS believes that public intervention should be focussed on where there is genuine 'market failure' and the remit and funding of the BBC should reflect this.
- Chairman: Lord Saatchi
- Director: Tim Knox
- Deputy Director, Events and Funding: Jenny Nicholson
- Head of Economic Research: Daniel Mahoney
- Digital Communications Manager: Lewis James Brown
- Executive Assistant: Olly Mace
Notable Research Fellows
- Janet Daley (Columnist)
- Charlie Elphicke (Conservative MP)
- Cristina Odone (Columnist)
- Kieron O'Hara
- Yorick Wilks
Notable Advisory Council members
- Andrew Denham and Mark Garnett Keith Joseph (Chesham 2001), p. 240
- Margaret Thatcher The Path to Power (London 1995), p. 255(
- Richard Cockett Thinking the Unthinkable (London 1994), pp. 243–320
- Margaret Thatcher The Path to Power (London 1995), p. 253
- James G. McGann (Director) (February 4, 2015). "2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report". Retrieved February 14, 2015. Other "Top Think Tank" rankings include #43 (of 50) of Think Tanks with the Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program, #23 (of 30) for Most Innovative Policy Ideas/Proposals, and #33 (of 60) of Think Tanks with Outstanding Policy-Oriented Public Programs.
- David Cameron's Speech
- Policy on the economy
- Family policy
- Energy policy
- Public Services policy
- Drugs policy
- Broadcasting policy