Bright Blue is generating fresh thinking about the purpose, design and financing of the UK’s education and welfare systems to boost life chances and national prosperity. To compete in the global race, Britain needs to significantly improve the skills of its workforce and broaden access to high quality academic and vocational education. As the economy becomes more globalised, competitive and automated, Britain’s social security system also needs revamping to improve its effectiveness and popularity.


Separate support? Attitudes to social security in Scotland

Anvar Sarygulov and Phoebe Arslanagić-Wakefield

April 2020

As part of the new devolution settlement, the Scottish Parliament and Government received extensive devolved powers over social security, and they have already made changes to benefits for carers, low-income families, children and those with disabilities. However, there has been little examination of Scottish public attitudes on how social security is being and should be reformed in Scotland.

This report addresses the gap by examining the attitudes of the Scottish public towards the current purpose, role and effectiveness of the social security system, and their views on promised and possible policies for social security reform. It also considers how these views of the Scottish public vary across different socio-demographic and voting characteristics.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Distant neighbours?

Ryan Shorthouse, Sam Lampier and Anvar Sarygulov

July 2019

Political concern about a lack of social integration has been high for some time. But what is social integration, and why it it so important?

This report argues that neighbourhood trust should be at the heart of our understanding and measurement of social integration, since it is indicative of positive, meaningful and sustained interactions with people in a neighbourhood. However, the best measure of social integration is only when neighbourhood trust is between ethnically and religiously diverse communities.

This report primarily seeks to understand the trends and drivers of neighbourhood trust, including how neighbourhood trust and ultimately social integration varies across England. Original policies are proposed to boost social integration. These are focused on giving individuals the tools to maximise their ability to socially integrate, and on reforming institutions so the opportunities for those from different ethnic and religious backgrounds to integrate are increased.”

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Helping hand? Improving Universal Credit

Ryan Shorthouse, Sam Lampier and Anvar Sarygulov

March 2019

Universal Credit is one of the most significant reforms of the welfare system in the UK for decades. Initially, it enjoyed widespread support. But as Universal Credit has gone from idea to implementation, the cross-party consensus has dissipated.

Despite welcome improvements made by government in recent years, there have been examples and evidence of significant hardship experienced by some on Universal Credit. Mounting hostility and polarisation in attitudes towards Universal Credit underlines the need for a balanced assessment of the experiences of different claimants. This report aims to do just that.

This report explores the impact of the unique and key design features of Universal Credit during three critical stages of the claimant experience: accessing, managing on, and progressing on Universal Credit. Original policies are proposed to minimise some of the common challenges faced by a sizeable minority of claimants, as well as to ensure that more claimants can enjoy the positive experiences many already have.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Burning Britain? Tackling ‘burning injustices’ that blight Britain

Eamonn Ives and Frank Soodeen

May 2018

The Prime Minister has, from the outset of her premiership, proclaimed her desire to tackle Britain’s ‘burning injustices’. Whilst there has been some early progress, negotiating Brexit has inevitably limited the radicalism of her domestic reform agenda.

The outcome of the 2017 General Election, in which the Conservative Party lost its ruling majority, means that backbench parliamentarians are in a uniquely powerful position to influence the current Government. This collection of essays, authored by prominent backbenchers from all the UK’s main national political parties, seeks to highlight some of Britain’s ‘burning injustices’, and provide solutions to help address them.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Britain breaking barriers

James Dobson and 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

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

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 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 report as a .pdf

Give and take: how conservatives think about welfare

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


On the home front

Anvar Sarygulov and Sam Robinson

October 2019

In this edition of Centre Write, we consider how to address the wide range of challenges facing our housing, streets and towns. In an exclusive interview, the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, Shaun Bailey AM, discusses his approach to housing and the importance of community in conservatism. The magazine also includes contributions from the Rt Hon David Lidington MP, Lord O’Neill, Andrew Boff AM, Bob Blackman MP, Mary Dejevsky, Nicholas Boys Smith, and Nicola Yates OBE.

Click here to download the magazine as a .pdf

Identity crisis?

Ryan Shorthouse and Anvar Sarygulov

July 2019

In this edition of Centre Write, we explore the role and consequences of identity in our politics and culture. Contributors include the Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, Professor John Curtice, Lord Holmes, Rachel Maclean MP, Lord Howell, John Lamont MP, and Helen Pluckrose.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Staying Faithful?

Ryan Shorthouse

October 2018

In this edition of Centre Write, we explore the role of religion and faith in modern society. This edition’s interview is with the philosopher, Sir Roger Scruton, who discusses the history and future of the Church of England. The PM’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Lord Ahmad, outlines how the UK is seeking to support different religious groups, at home and abroad. The former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron MP, identifies the relationship between Christianity and liberalism. Other contributors include Paul Goodman, Nicky Morgan MP and Stephen Pollard.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Matters of the mind

Olivia Utley

August 2018

In this edition of Centre Write, we explore the ubiquity of mental health problems in the UK and propose solutions for tackling them. Contributors include Tracey Crouch MP, Nimco Ali, Antoinette Sandbach MP and Tim Loughton MP. Our Centre Write interview is with the Minister for Universities and Science, Sam Gyimah MP.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

Capitalism in crisis?

Laura Round

August 2017

In this edition of Centre Write, we put capitalism in the spotlight, with articles from Paul Goodman, The Rt Hon Ed Vaizey MP, Flick Drummond and The Rt Hon Lord Maude.

Click here to download the magazine as a .pdf

The robotic revolution

Laura Round

May 2017

In this edition of Centre Write, we look at the implications of technological advance on our economy, society and politics. Contributors include Steve Hilton, Matthew Taylor, Matt Hancock MP, Vicky Ford MEP, Alan Mak MP, Nigel Huddleston MP and many more.

Click here to download the magazine as a .pdf

The end of the establishment?

Laura Round

December 2016

In this edition of Centre Write, we explore the reasons behind the success of anti-establishment politics and the political earthquakes of 2016, notably Brexit and Trump. Professor Vernon Bogdanor discusses the resurrection of radical populism and Professor John Curtice asks whether we are truly seeing the end of the two-party system.

Click here to download the report as a .pdf

The future of work

Richard Mabey

July 2015

In this edition of Centre Write, we look at four key aspects for the future of work: the new economy, the jobs of the future, a new welfare settlement and a more diverse workforce. Contributors include the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, the Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, Professor David Blanchflower, Frances O’Grady, David Skelton and many more.

Click here to download the magazine as a .pdf

Education: A solid start

James Brenton

July 2014

The fifth edition of The Progressive Conscience looks at education: what it’s for, who it should serve, and how to get it right. Andreas Schleicher, the Director for Education and Skills at the OECD, gives us the global perspective on education and tells us what Britain needs to do to move up in the rankings. The Minister of State for Business, Enterprise and Energy, Matthew Hancock MP, tells us about the Conservative plan to improve apprenticeships, while Conor Ryan describes what remains to be done to open up our best schools to a wider range of students. Contributions from Charlotte Leslie MP, James O’Shaughnessy, and Nick Gibb MP, among others, round out a thoughtful collection of essays about how to improve the state of education.

Click here to download the magazine as a .pdf