Social Market Foundation

The Social Market Foundation (SMF) is a non-partisan think tank. We believe that fair markets, complemented by open public services, increase prosperity and help people to live well. We conduct research and run events looking at a wide range of economic and social policy areas, focusing on economic prosperity, public services and consumer markets. The SMF is resolutely independent, and the range of backgrounds and opinions among our staff, trustees and advisory board reflects this.


Latest reports

Roads to recovery

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation looks at exploring prison rehabilitation and its alternatives. One of the primary purposes of the UK prison system is to facilitate offender rehabilitation. However, inadequate support and high reoffending rates mean it may be failing to live up to that ideal. Drawing upon lessons from...

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Degrees of separation

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation looks at the education divide in British politics. British politics since the 2016 Brexit referendum has been characterised by the emergence of a new divide, between graduates and school leavers. Education now has a stronger relationship with vote choice than any other demographic or economic...

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Insulating Britain

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation explores what motivates landlords and owner occupiers to insulate their homes. Decarbonising home heat, which accounts for 14% of the UK’s carbon emissions, is essential if the UK is to achieve its target to reach net zero emissions by 2050. But current policies are falling...

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Top of the class?

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation examines the state of leadership and management in education. Education is strongly linked with economic success, yet education quality in the UK lags behind many comparable countries. This Social Market Foundation report examines the central role that better leadership and management have to play in...

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Getting the measure of transport poverty

This report from UK think the Social Market Foundation looks at understanding and responding to the UK’s hidden crisis. As the single largest cost for millions of households across the UK, understanding the financial burden of transport is critical to decreasing poverty. Yet, unlike for energy or housing, there is no metric in place to...

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Putting intensive farming out to pasture

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation looks at whether alternative proteins can reduce farmed animal suffering. The market for meat alternatives has grown rapidly over the last decade, yet they still only account for 1% of the global meat market. This SMF report, the third and final instalment of a series,...

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The scale of the opportunity

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation digs deeper into the characteristics of ‘scale-ups’ and their significant contribution to the British economy. Building on the findings of a previous SMF report (Full Scale, published in September 2023) investigating the barriers to the expansion of ‘scale-ups’, this briefing digs deeper into the characteristics...

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Fraudulent times

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation argues that a more concerted and long-term effort against fraud is needed. We are in the midst of a fraud emergency, but efforts to tackle it have consistently fallen short of reversing its growth in recent years. This report argues that a more concerted and...

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A tale of two human rights lawyers

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation explores whether a Labour government could realise a better future in the UK for refugee protection with control. Judgment on the legality of the government’s ‘Rwanda plan’ response to the irregular migrant flows across the English Channel is currently awaited from the Supreme Court. In...

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Supply change

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation explores the economic and environmental benefits of making the UK’s heat pump supply chain more robust. The UK’s heat pump supply chain is still in its infancy and remains much weaker than in mainland Europe or Asia. This SMF report explores the economic and environmental...

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Bare necessities

This report by UK think tank the Social Market Foundation looks at an improved framework for social tariffs in the UK. The cost of living crisis has left many households struggling to afford essential goods and services. This SMF report explores the case for social tariffs (discounts offered to vulnerable customers), the goods they are...

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Full scale: how to ensure more British firms grow to their potential

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation highlights other barriers holding UK businesses back from expanding. The UK is an attractive place to start a business, but those start-ups find it harder than in other countries to scale up. This SMF report looks beyond the issue of access to capital to highlight...

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Towns vitality roadmap

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation looks at a new policy framework for the UK’s towns. Towns are the backbone of our economy, the heart of our communities, and the engine of job creation. Yet they often face significant challenges, including funding allocation, skills challenges, infrastructure issues and digital adoption. In...

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The view from the ground

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation looks at the extent of fraud and its economic and psychological impact on victims. The UK is experiencing an epidemic of fraud, yet the threat of it has remained neglected in political debates about crime, with insufficient research into the problem. This SMF report investigates...

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Chewing it over

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation looks at public attitudes to alternative proteins and meat reduction. Whereas vegetarianism and veganism were once relatively fringe, interest in reducing meat consumption – whether on animal welfare, health or environmental grounds – is on the rise. This SMF report, the second of three in...

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