Conservative Members Reveal Their True Priorities: Sharing and Caring

For the first time in 14 years, Conservative Party members debated and voted on the policies of their choosing on the main stage at their annual conference.

The Conservative Policy Forum held two members' debates at the Party conference in Manchester: one on the economy and one on public services.

Over 100 submissions to speak in the debates showed that members of PM Boris Johnson's Party are very clearly "Big Society" community-focused compassionate Conservatives.

The first debate on the economy featured suggestions such as reforms of inheritance tax, business rates and stamp duty in ways that would benefit "the many, not the few". The proposal that won the support of an overwhelming majority of the hundreds who attended was one in support of volunteering.

The winning idea was pitched by Ella Robertson, the Managing Director of One Young World, a global forum for young leaders.

Ella proposed that after three years' consistent volunteering, in roles such as a magistrate or NHS carer, volunteers should receive a small but significant tax break of a few hundred pounds for every year that they remain in their role in the future.

She also suggested that the Party could examine a reduction in tuition fees for young people who spend a year volunteering full time before or after university.

In the second debate on public services, motions considered included support of integrating health and social care, reorganisation of the NHS, a review of knife crime sentencing, and electing leaders for all public services. Two policies equally won the most support in the hall: Vauxhall Conservative Elizabeth Gibson’s proposal on an auto-enrolment scheme for future care and retired Public Health Specialist Margaret Simons’ ideas on match-funding for a voluntary social care service.

The Conservative Policy Forum is the Party's grassroots-led think tank, run by CPF Manager Dr John Hayward, CPF Voluntary Director Flick Drummond, CPF Chairman John Penrose MP, who succeeds George Freeman MP in the role, and CPF Vice-Chairman Andrew Sharpe OBE, who also serves as Chairman of the National Conservative Convention.