The Centre for Policy Studies is Britain’s leading centre-right think tank. Its mission is to develop a new generation of conservative thinking, built around promoting enterprise, ownership and prosperity.
The CPS does this both by producing its own policy papers – in particular on its core areas of tax and cost of living, business and enterprise, housing, and welfare. It also works with prominent policy thinkers to bring their ideas to a wider audience, including many Conservative MPs, as well as hosting events, debates and conferences.
Founded in 1974 by Sir Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher, the CPS was responsible for developing the bulk of the policy agenda that became known as Thatcherism. The CPS, Thatcher said, “was where our conservative revolution began”. And it was by implementing its policies “that we gradually restored the confidence and reputation of our country”.
Over the past 45 years, the CPS has produced countless policies which have made Britain a better place.
The taming of runaway inflation, the curbing of the power of the trade unions, the privatisation revolution, the shrinking of the state and Britain’s embrace of entrepreneurship – all began at the CPS. It was the CPS which paved the way for the creation of modern companies such as British Airways, British Telecom and Jaguar Land Rover.
It was the CPS which first suggested that parental choice should be put at the heart of the education system, with schools becoming accountable to parents. It was the CPS which championed wider share ownership. It was the CPS that suggested banks should have to reveal their charges to their customers, or that you should be able to take your pension with you when you moved jobs.
It was the CPS that championed the use of synthetic phonics in schools, which has – since its introduction under David Cameron – raised children’s literacy standards and reversed Britain’s decline in the PISA tables. It was the CPS whose ideas inspired the pension freedoms brought in by George Osborne, as well as the Lifetime ISA, and which made the case for the Conservatives to prioritise corporation tax reductions as a way to stimulate business. The Coalition’s flagship tax policy, of raising the personal allowance for income tax, first appeared in a CPS pamphlet by Maurice Saatchi. And it was the CPS that led Britain’s think tanks into the digital age with the creation of CapX, an online aggregator and news service dedicated to making the case for popular capitalism.
Today, under the directorship of Robert Colvile and chairmanship of Lord Saatchi, the CPS is at the heart of the intellectual debate. The latest parliamentary survey by ComRes found that the CPS is considered by Conservative MPs to be the country’s most influential think tank. It also scored extremely highly, compared with its peers, in terms of the quality of its research and its independence from political and commercial bias.
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