Who are we
The Centre for Policy Studies is Britain’s leading centre-right think tank. Our mission is to develop a new generation of conservative thinking, built around promoting enterprise, ownership and prosperity.
The CPS does this both by producing our own policy papers – in particular on core areas of taxation, economic growth, business, welfare, housing and environment. We also work with prominent policy thinkers to bring their ideas to a wider audience, including many Conservative MPs, as well as hosting events, debates and conferences.
The CPS was founded in 1974 by Sir Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher and was responsible for developing the bulk of the policy agenda that became known as Thatcherism. The think tank, Thatcher said, “was where our conservative revolution began”. It was by implementing its policies “that we gradually restored the confidence and reputation of our country”.
Since our formation, 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. The CPS 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; and championed wider share ownership and that suggested banks should have to reveal their charges to their customers, or that individuals should be able to take their pension with them when moving jobs.
The CPS 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. CPS policy ideas inspired the pension freedoms brought in by George Osborne. The Coalition’s flagship tax policy, of raising the personal allowance for income tax, first appeared in a CPS pamphlet by Maurice Saatchi. And the CPS 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.
More recently, the CPS has been spearheading efforts to level up the country, reforming – or abolishing – Stamp Duty, promoting long-term fixed-rate mortgages to help first-time buyers onto the housing ladder, establishing free ports, boosting regional and inter-regional transport, enhancing digital skills, creating a bespoke visa system for entrepreneurs who could create high-value companies and supporting the country through the pandemic, while offering constructive and realistic proposals on how to boost economic growth to recover from the impact of Covid-19, including through the introduction of full expensing.
Today, under the directorship of Robert Colvile, the CPS is still at the heart of the intellectual debate. The latest parliamentary survey by Savanta ComRes found that Conservative MPs consider the CPS 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. It was responsible for the flagship housing and tax policies in the most recent Conservative Party manifesto, as well as proposing dozens of other policies that have been adopted by government.
The CPS is an independent, non-partisan organisation, supported exclusively by funding from its supporters. You can find out how to support the CPS here, or sign up to our newsletter to hear about our publications and events first.