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Centre for Policy Studies
Abbreviation CPS
Formation 1974
Type Public policy / Think tank
Headquarters 57 Tufton Street
Location London, UK
Lord Saatchi
Jill Kirby

'The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) is a Conservative British policy studies think tank whose goal is to promote coherent and practical public policy, to roll back the state, reform public services, support communities, and challenge threats to Britain’s independence.

It was founded by Conservatives Sir Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher in 1974 to champion economic liberalism in Britain and has since played a global role in the dissemination of free market economics along monetarist and, what today would be called, neoliberal lines. Its policy proposals are claimed to be based on the principles of individual choice and responsibility. They also assert that they prioritise the concepts of duty, family, liberty, and the rule of law. The CPS has a stated goal of serving as the champion of the small state.[1]



The CPS soon drove for a reassessment of Conservative economic policy during their period in opposition from 1974-1979. It was during this period that the CPS released its landmark reports, such as Stranded on the Middle Ground and Monetarism is Not Enough (1974 and 1976). Keith Joseph’s keynote speeches, published by the CPS, aimed to lead the way in changing the climate of opinion in Britain and set the intellectual foundations for the free market reforms of the 1980s. Monetarism is Not Enough was described by Margaret Thatcher as “one of the very few speeches which have fundamentally affected a political generation's way of thinking."[2].
The CPS did not consciously represent itself as a partisan institute; ‘blame’ for the collectivist post-war consensus was placed on both sides of the political parties for operating within the same ideological framework. The CPS continually advocated a centre-right approach and was hugely influential during Margaret Thatcher’s administration, operating as a key driving force towards her hallmark policies of privatization, deregulation and monetarism[3]
In her own words, its job was to 'expose the follies and self-defeating consequences of government intervention....'to think the unthinkable'[4]. In 1982, it released Telecommunications in Britain, which urged the Government to embrace a fuller agenda of privatization in the telecoms sector. The paper recommended the privatization of British Telecom and the introduction of competition to the sector –both of which were implemented. Another key publication was The Performance of the Privatised Industries (1996) – a four volume statistical analysis which showed how the privatization agenda had benefitted the consumer by ushering in lower prices and higher quality service. It argued that the taxpayer had benefitted greatly from privatisation - not just from the initial windfall from receipts, but also from higher tax revenues than had ever been received from the same companies when they were in state ownership.

Recent History

More recently, the CPS has focused on the area of social policy, for example The Price of Parenthood (Jill Kirby, 2005), a study which claimed to show how the state both penalizes marriage and subsidises family breakup. Its call for marriage to be recognized in the tax system is now official Conservative Party policy. In 2009, the CPS celebrated its 35th Anniversary for which the Leader of the Opposition, David Cameron MP, gave a speech highlighting the role the CPS played in the Conservative Party’s victory in the 1979 election crediting them with ‘a great rebirth of intellectual ideas, of intellectual vigour, and of intellectual leadership’[5]


  • Chairman: Lord Saatchi
  • Director: Jill Kirby
  • Deputy Director of Publications: Tim Knox
  • Deputy Director of Events and Funding: Jenny Nicholson
  • Research Director: Sam Talbot Rice
  • Executive Assistant: Kate Jones



Economy - The CPS ‘believes in regulation that does not inhibit the growth of business, taxes that do not act as a disincentive to work or to investment in the UK, and a leaner more effective state that avoids unnecessary intervention in the economy’.[6]

Family – The CPS advocates that fiscal policy should be reformed to support marriage through the tax system and to remove the welfare penalty on two-parent families. State intervention in family life should focus on protection of vulnerable children; it should not extend to managing their day-to-day lives and removing responsibility and judgment from parents.[7]

Energy - Recent CPS publications have argued that the UK must develop its nuclear, clean coal (including coal gasification) and efficient renewable supplies of energy.[8]

Public Services - The CPS has been a consistent advocate for greater choice and diversity of provision, opening up state monopolies to new providers and putting greater power and responsibility in the hands of parents and patients.[9]

Drugs - The CPS’ Prison and Addiction forum (PANDA) was set up in 2008. It provides an independent forum of debate about drugs policy for academics, practitioners, psychiatrists, and specialist commentators. Its aim is to identify the reforms required in the UK to get our drug problem under control, to prevent drug use and to offer substance abusers the help and necessary care to combat their abuse.[10]

Broadcasting – The CPS believes that public intervention should be focussed on where there is genuine 'market failure' and the remit and funding of the BBC should reflect this.[11]

Recent Publications

See also


External links



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