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CPF Chairman John Penrose's Boxnote on the Workers & Families Paper

‘Box Notes’ are short briefings included in a Minister’s red box, to bring them up to speed on a developing issue.

Dear Member,

I’m writing to brief you on the conclusions of our latest policy enquiry into

Workers and Families. There’s more detail in the summary attached to this

box note on the CPF website and, as always, a more detailed private version has gone to #10 Downing Street as well. We will also be holding our usual follow-up round table discussion with #10 policy staff or Cabinet Ministers to develop some of these ideas further.

This report has three key conclusions about the wisdom and beliefs of the Conservative Crowd (the report has contributions from both Party members and supportive non-members too) for you to note:

Key Conclusions

1. We are still a small-state party at heart. We don’t begrudge the enormous short-term emergency pandemic support for families and employers, but we don’t want it to lead to a permanent reset of Britain’s culture away from individuals, families and employers taking responsibility for themselves and towards dependency on taxpayer funds or – even worse – a sense of entitlement to them instead.

2. That said, we are fans of long-term, structural changes which sweep away barriers to work and success. Unaffordable or hard-to-find childcare for working families; benefit thresholds and withdrawal rates that blunt work incentives; and expensive transport are the main villains that we want to see changed.

3. We are almost Germanic in our support for in-work technical and vocational training and career development. We want to see better, broader opportunities for talented, practical people who don’t suit the well-understood but narrow academic university-degree route to success.

Best wishes & stay safe


John Penrose MP

Conservative Policy Forum Chair


Germanic and small at heart state .......


There is a mindset that looks to the Treasury for solutions.

As an institution, it is not very creative. For example, it already pays for social housing but now is to throw more money at the building industry to get them to build. In other words a further social housing policy.

From henceforward the Conservative mantra needs to be policies that are Treasury Neutral or Treasury positive. For example without funny money excuses, how can the Defence Budget or Social Housing Budget be Treasury neutral?

It is a matter of creativity. That is the challenge for CPF. Can we start with Drone Technology and granny flats?

Today's creative solution is as follows:

If there was a government initiative to install…


No mention of wages? To me, the biggest issue is the stagnation of wages versus the rise in the cost of living. Two parents working can just about make ends meet if they are lucky. One parent working requires state help these days. It has become a badge of honour amongst many companies to pay the lowest that is legally possible (or less even) and blame competition for it. Its a nonsense. Just because cheap and desperate labour is available, doesn't mean you must use it. Paying the minimum wage should be a last-ditch response to prevent a company going under and not an ongoing strategy to increase profits. The hidden economic and social effects of working parents who …


The main things that people need in todays society is a good standard of living somewhere to live some form of transport and enough money to have a holiday and the only way they will achieve this regardless of education is by having a real job and income We will never achieve these goals unless we stop buying everything from the cheap sweat shops of Asia and start making products in the UK The UK companies that use cheap labour to manufacture their goods are destroying the wealth of our economy and preventing people doing what you have suggested. Plus we are having to pay the unemployed benefits so they can survive. We a paying millions to educate our youn…


This is very laudable. I do wonder at times how 'philosophically' conservative our current government is, so it is reassuring to read that we are still a 'small-state party' and one committed to individuals and families, rather than state support. This does, however, rather seem at odds with current government policy doesn't it? For example, even the Labour party have never thought fit to provide free school meals to children in the holidays because a celebrity thought it would be a good idea.

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