2014 - Some highlights

Happy Christmas!

All of us at the Centre for Policy Studies would like to wish our supporters, members, authors and friends a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

This is our last bulletin of what, we hope you will agree, has been a great year for the CPS. Just a few of the highlights are set out below.

But we are always aware that – as our co-founder often said – “there is so much more to do”.
The Inaugural Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty

  • Held to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the Centre for Policy Studies by Sir Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher.
  • A one day Conference held at the Guildhall on Wednesday 18 June, attended by over 900 delegates.

A world class line-up of 45 speakers included:

  • Professors Michael Clarke, Richard Epstein, Niall Ferguson, Deepak Lal, Deirdre McCloskey, Roger Scruton and Luigi Zingales, and Doctors Keyu Jin and Art Laffer.
  • Politicians including former French Prime Minister François Fillon, Michael Gove MP, Dan Hannan MEP, former Australian PM John Howard, George Osborne MP, General David Petraeus, Lord Powell of Bayswater, Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas and Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski.
  • Authors and commentators including Simon Jenkins, Rich Lowry, John Micklethwait, Charles Moore, V S Naipaul, Fraser Nelson and John O’Sullivan.

The conference was livestreamed internationally, generating 26 million impressions on Twitter. Watch all the videos at the Conference hub website.

  • “If conservatives had an answer to Woodstock, it would resemble the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty held by the Centre for Policy Studies.” Fraser Nelson, The Spectator.
  • “There is a backlog of serious Tory re-thinking to be done and some uncertainty as to whether the current crop of Tories is either energetic or creative enough for the task. As the program of this conference demonstrates, however, the current CPS is both of those things.” John O’SullivanThe Daily Telegraph.
  • “As optimistic Conservatives who believe in the power of ideas like freedom and aspiration, our generation’s mission is to confront and overcome this latest bout of western self-doubt.” – George Osbornespeaking at the dinner following the Conference.

CapX – the world’s first digital think tank

  • powerful new global initiative to make the case that popular capitalism – innovation, low tax, trade and inclusive growth – works to the great benefit of all.
  • Following its soft launch at the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty, the hard launch, with stunning new designs and integrated social media capacity, is now scheduled for January 2015.
  • Website traffic is doubling every month. Partnerships with international think tanks will extend the reach of CapX to a larger global audience.
  • Sign up to the email list at capx.co to hear the latest news.

CPS ranked top UK think tank in the Global Go To Think Tank Index Report for:

  • “Most Innovative Policy Ideas/Proposals”
  • “Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program”

Some significant publications

  • The Road from SerfdomLord Saatchi’s report recommended the abolition of corporation tax for small businesses and the abolition of capital gains tax for their investors. Watch the short explanatory infotoon here and watch Lord Saatchi introduce the policy at the Margaret Thatcher Conference here.
  • SuperEntrepreneurs and How Your Country Can Get ThemNima and Tino Sanandaji’s paper extolling the importance of entrepreneurialism, swept the world, being reported over 100 times in the mainstream press in over 30 countries. See the superhero-themed infographic here.
  • Deploying the Saudi Oil Weapon against Russia. Published when the oil price was over $100 a barrel, Neil Barnett forecast that Saudi Arabia would maintain high levels of production to squeeze the Russian economy (as happened in the mid-1980s). Saudi has since increased production, the oil price is today around $65 a barrel and the Russian economy is in danger of imminent collapse.
  • The Cost of LabourAdam Memon’s widely covered paper suggested that Labour’s tax proposals could could cost the UK 300,000 jobs and more than £25 billion in GDP.
  • Oil, Finance and Pensions: why Scots should say noTim Morgan’s high impact report suggested that there was a £14 billion hole in the SNP’s budget forecasts (a figure that would be even higher today given the collapse in oil prices).
  • Introducing the Lifetime ISAMichael Johnson’s radical proposals to reform ISAs continue his cogent and influential campaign to reinvigorate the UK savings culture.

Our latest report 

The Local Government Pensions Scheme is approaching crisis. An embarrassment to Britain, the mismanaged scheme ultimately risks running out of cash to meet pensions in payment. Last year 30 of the 89 funds in England and Wales experienced negative net cashflow as contributions fell behind benefit payments. This situation is expected to deteriorate, as the scheme’s headcount declines and the membership ages.

In his new paper What Price Localism? A case study: the Local Government Pension SchemeMichael Johnson urges immediate structural reform.

Media Impact:

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Date Added: Tuesday 23rd December 2014