A greener, more pleasant land: a new market-based commissioning scheme for rural payments

Ben Caldecott, Sam Hall & Eamonn Ives

November 2017

Brexit presents the UK with an historic opportunity to enhance its natural environment. Rural payments are currently determined predominantly by the EU through the Common Agricultural Policy, but after Brexit they could be reformed to deliver major benefits for the environment and wider society.

This report proposes a new online, market-based commissioning scheme for rural payments whereby a range of beneficiaries commission suppliers to provide certain ecosystem services.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Fighting for freedom? The historic and future relationship between conservatism and human rights

Sir Michael Tugendhat

August 2017

Conservative writers and politicians have been influential in the development of human rights in the UK for centuries. Sir Winston Churchill made the enthronement of human rights a war aim, which was achieved by the founding of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It was a Conservative MP in 1968 who was the first to campaign for incorporating the ECHR into UK statute law, which would eventually be realised with the introduction of the Human Rights Act (HRA) 1998.

However, Conservatives today are sceptical of the HRA. The current Government has promised to review the UK’s future human rights legal framework after Brexit. This report outlines and assesses different options for reform, concluding that Conservatives should be supporters of the HRA and ECHR.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Britain breaking barriers: Strengthening human rights and tackling discrimination

James Dobson & Ryan Shorthouse

July 2017

Britain is the home of human rights and a global force for good. After Brexit, Britain should not just be a global leader in free trade, but in human rights too. In this country, as a result of discrimination, too many people are still held back — especially in education and employment — because of who they are rather than what they do.

After a year-long inquiry led by a commission of high-profile decision makers and opinion formers, this report provides a comprehensive and compelling set of policies which can be used by the current Government for its social reform agenda to strengthen human rights and tackle all forms of discrimination.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Green conservatives? Understanding what conservatives think about the environment

Sam Hall

April 2017

Preserving and enhancing the environment for future generations to enjoy should be at the heart of conservative thinking. But a small number of high-profile conservatives are sceptical of environmental policies, particularly those that mitigate climate change.

This polling report unearths what most Conservative voters think about protecting the natural environment and reducing the harmful effects of climate change. It examines the views of Conservatives, including those with different socio-demographic characteristics, on key environmental issues such as air pollution, home energy improvements, Britain’s power sector, and the future of environmental regulations post-Brexit.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

A sense of belonging

Laura Round, Kate Murray and Tobias Phibbs

December 2016

With the launch of the Casey Review this month sparking fresh debate about the state of integration in the UK, this new report brings together leading decision makers and opinion formers from different political and professional backgrounds to argue that integration should be a top priority that unites both Left and Right.

Dame Louise Casey, Professor Ted Cantle, Lord O’Shaughnessy and MPs Chuka Umunna and Suella Fernandes are joined by a range of thinkers to map out a new path to achieve greater integration in the UK. They argue that social integration is about more than race and religion. It means bringing together people from all sorts of backgrounds: the old and young; straight and gay; rich and poor; disabled and non- disabled. This truly ‘One Nation’ agenda is crucial to reducing prejudice and discrimination, and improving opportunities and quality of life.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

The future of London

Ryan Shorthouse and Liam Booth-Smith

September 2016

Our latest essay collection sets out to answer the question of what London will look like in 2050. To remain a thriving and successful city, improving opportunities for all of its citizens, it must be innovative – a step ahead of rival cities in in business, culture, education, governance and more.

The essay collection includes contributions from a number of high-profile decision makers and opinion formers, including the Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP (Foreign Secretary), Justine Roberts (Co-Founder, Mumsnet), the Rt Hon Alan Milburn (Chair, Social Mobility Commission), Sir Terry Farrell (Architect), Professor Tony Travers (Director, LSE London), and more.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Better homes: Incentivising home energy improvements

Sam Hall and Ben Caldecott

August 2016

Homes in the UK need to consume less and greener energy so that important targets for reducing carbon emissions are achieved. Government sought to incentivise home energy improvements by creating the Green Deal in 2013, but this was a failure and ended after two years. There is now a policy vacuum.

This report examines the current market in energy efficiency measures and decentralised renewable technologies, and the possible reasons for the Green Deal’s failure. It proposes a new home energy improvement scheme in the able to pay sector.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Keeping the lights on: Security of supply after coal

Ben Caldecott

June 2016

The Government has announced that it will phase out the use of coal in electricity generation by the mid-2020s, making the UK the first country to use coal for electricity generation and now the first developed country to phase it out completely. Since the announcement, however, there has been concern about the implications for the UK’s energy security as coal is removed from the grid.

This report analyses the impact of the coal phase-out on the power system, the demand for gas, the UK’s emissions targets and households bills. The lights will stay on. In fact, the report argues that is feasible and desirable to phase-out coal earlier than currently planned.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Conservatism and human rights

Ryan Shorthouse and James Dobson

March 2016

The collection, published by Bright Blue, brings together leading thinkers, decision makers and public figures to discuss three key themes in the debate around human rights: tackling discrimination; the role of human rights in British foreign policy; and ensuring the new British Bill of Rights strengthens human rights.

This collection includes contributions from the Rt Hon Damian Green MP, the Rt Hon Maria Miller MP, the Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind QC MP, Crispin Blunt MP, Trevor Phillips OBE, and Professor Sir Paul Collier.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Standing alone? Self-employment for those on low income

David Kirkby

February 2016

Rises in the number of individuals self-employed since 2008 have been accompanied by sharp falls in earnings. With average earnings from self-employment now well below average earnings for employees, understanding the experiences and challenges facing self-employed individuals on low income is vital. This report offers new evidence on these experiences and challenges and makes a number of policy recommendations to support this group more effectively.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf


Going part-time: Understanding and reversing the decline in part-time higher education

Ryan Shorthouse and James Dobson

November 2015

Part-time Higher Education (HE) is associated with a number of benefits  to both the individual and to society. However, since 2010–11, there has been a sharp decline in the number of undergraduate and postgraduate entrants from the UK and other EU countries undertaking a part-time HE qualification. This report identifies the possible causes of the decline and the barriers that individuals considering part-time HE face.

Original policy reforms are proposed which are designed to reduce the  financial barriers individuals face when trying to access part-time HE. These policies are designed to be fiscally neutral, progressive and achieve a fairer funding settlement on HE between government, individuals and employers.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Reducing poverty by promoting more diverse social networks for disadvantaged people from ethnic minority groups

Ryan Shorthouse

October 2015

There is growing evidence that an individual’s relationships – their ‘social capital’ – can help reduce poverty. For disadvantaged people from ethnic minority backgrounds, there is also evidence of a limited but significant relationship between less diverse social networks and poverty. This report makes four policy suggestions to help to strengthen and widen the social networks of disadvantaged people from ethnic minority groups.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

The generation game: spending priorities for an ageing society

Ryan Shorthouse, Andrew Harrop and Anthony Rowlands

September 2015

Published with the Fabian Society and CentreForum, this collection of essays explores spending priorities for an ageing population.

We need to find the fairest and most sustainable funding settlement as the country adapts to demographic change. This collection includes contributions from George Freeman MP, The Rt Hon Lord David Willetts, Dr John Pugh MP, Debbie Abrahams MP, Claudia Wood, Ryan Shorthouse and many more.

Click here to download the collection as a .pdf

Green and responsible conservatism

Ben Caldecott

July 2015

This report sets out how the centre-right of British politics could better embed sustainability and long-termism within the UK economy. By understanding and overcoming the issues that impede our ability to become more sustainable and long-term, we can deliver better environmental, economic, and social outcomes.

The report proposes ambitious and cost-effective policies to build a greener and more long-term economy based around three major themes: tackling the tragedy of horizons in public and private sector institutions, securing value for money in relation to environmental outcomes, and urging a new internationalism to address climate change.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Understanding how ethnic minorities think about immigration

Ryan Shorthouse and David Kirkby

June 2015

This is the final report from this project. It demonstrates the distinctive views of ethnic minorities, including immigrants themselves, towards immigration. Their views are important, especially because they represent a growing proportion of the electorate. Ethnic minorities are more welcoming of immigrants and positive about their impact than the wider population, but value many of the same policy priorities.

These attitudes indicate that there is an opportunity for the centre-right to develop a balanced agenda on immigration which enjoys greater support. The focus should be on prioritising immigrants who contribute
and placing competent management of the system at the forefront of the debate.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

A manifesto for immigration

Ryan Shorthouse and David Kirkby

April 2015

This report is the third from this project. Drawing on key centre-right themes and priorities, it outlines Bright Blue’s manifesto on immigration. It details a series of policy recommendations for the key elements of the immigration system: workers, students, family members, and refugees and asylum applicants. These are policies that are achievable, principled and capable of securing public support, and taken together, they form a firm but fair centre-right manifesto on immigration.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

A future without poverty

Ryan Shorthouse and Andrew Harrop

March 2015

This collection of essays, published with the Fabian Society, was launched at a major cross-party conference which we hosted.

Bucking the trend of escalating political mudslinging, the collection creates a cross-party space for people from different political, professional and social backgrounds to come together to share their experiences and find common solutions to poverty.  This pamphlet includes contributions from Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, Kate Green MP, Philip Collins (The Times), Peter Franklin (ConservativeHome), Ryan Shorthouse (Bright Blue), Alison Garnham (CPAG) and many more.

Click here to download the collection as a .pdf

A centre-right plan on immigration from opinion formers and decision makers

Ryan Shorthouse and David Kirkby

February 2015

This report is the second from this project. It outlines the key themes which emerged from a series of roundtables on immigration with opinion formers and decision makers. It demonstrates how an understanding of the cultural and economic impacts of immigration can inform a balanced centre-right policy agenda on immigration. The centre-right needs to broaden its message beyond a narrow focus on the net migration figures in order to better convey competence and sound management of the immigration system. Immigrants who contribute economically and who integrate should be prioritised and encouraged.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Understanding how Conservative voters think about immigration

Ryan Shorthouse and David Kirkby

January 2015

This report is the first of several from this project. It demonstrates the distinctiveness of the views of Conservative voters on immigration, which can help provide the underlying principles for a more balanced centre-right policy agenda on immigration. Conservatives have a reasonable and clear position: they want an immigration system that is fairer and welcoming of contributors. They are not against immigration per se, but against what they perceive as unfair immigration. In essence, they want to build a contributory-based immigration system.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Give and Take

Ryan Shorthouse and David Kirkby

November 2014

Our welfare system is important for supporting the vulnerable and impoverished. But public support for the welfare state is low, especially amongst conservatives. To ensure the survival and success of our welfare system, a richer understanding is required of the principles individuals want it to enshrine and their views of where the existing system falls short.

This report outlines in detail how conservatives think of welfare. Interrelated themes are unearthed relating to benefit claimants, the purpose of welfare and sources of welfare. Drawing on these themes, original welfare reforms are proposed, designed to boost the effectiveness of - and public support for – the welfare system.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

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