In response to the CPF discussion on workers and families, we received submissions from 51 CPF groups, representing 56 constituencies plus one Conservatives Abroad group and at least 432 members. Since the start of the year, around 2,000 members from 202 constituencies have participated in CPF discussions. This includes 22 groups that have newly launched and 33 that have relaunched.
Of those who participated in this consultation, one-in-twelve (8.1%) were not Party members. About one-in-fourteen (7.0%) live in swing seats (those that we won or lost in the 2019 general election), almost one-in-nine (10.6%) in opposition-held seats and five-in-six (82.4%) in Conservative-held seats. About one-in-three (35%) live the South East, one-in-six (16%) in the South West, one-in-seven (14%) in the Midlands, one-in-eight (13%) in the North or Yorkshire & Humber, one-in-eight (12%) in the East and one-in-eleven (8.8%) in London.
Thank you to everybody who has been involved: your suggestions are continuing to help shape our Party’s policies and our country's future.
What follows is an overview of the key points raised by CPF groups plus a few representative quotations. As usual, a more detailed summary has been sent to the PM’s Policy Unit, the relevant Secretary of State (Work & Pensions) and the Party leadership. We look forward to publishing a formal response to members’ ideas in due course.
“There appears to be a change in public perception that everyone is entitled to funds that support their lifestyle or employment choices.”
“It is high time that the Government came forward with serious proposals for financing and managing the care and welfare of elderly and chronically sick people.”
“The government needs to promote the help it is giving, particularly the employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships.”
“The focus on having a university degree is corrosive. You should be able to get a work-related professional qualification without a degree, e.g. in nursing and policing.”
“Anything the government can do in terms of enabling infrastructure and support for innovative science and technology must contribute to in-work progression.”
“We need to be a low tax, low regulation country in order to attract investment.”
“There is need and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for radical thinking and action to simplify the tax system.”
“Let people make their own choices.” “Rebalance our culture towards personal responsibility.”
Overwhelmingly, CPF Groups said that their attitude to welfare remains unchanged.
Around half of all CPF Groups (48%) expressed concerns over the Government’s response to the virus.
About 1-in-4 (26%) were concerned over fraud and abuse of the lockdown relief measures.
Members “invariably prefer to see a ‘small state’ approach to running the country.”
About 1-in-4 (26%) proposed raising the minimum wage to a true living wage.
About 1-in-4 (24%) said that welfare should serve as a “safety net”.
Virtually all who mentioned the idea of a Universal Basic Income were opposed.
1-in-6 groups (16%) proposed reviewing or removing the “triple lock” on state pensions.
1-in-9 groups (12%) called for action on “zero hours” contracts.
The top barriers to in-work progression identified by CPF Groups included childcare cost and availability; in-work benefit thresholds; and the cost and availability of transportation.
Over 2-in-3 (68%) called for more support of in-work training.
Over 3-in-5 (62%) said to teach financial management skills in school.
Over 2-in-5 (42%) called for more tax incentives to save.
Other specific suggestions include:
More flexible travel season tickets & dial-a-minibus schemes to aid low-income commuters.
Create a resource hub with job tasters to provide work experience of different careers.
Increase the child-to-carer ratio for childcare and improve staff training and monitoring.
Shift resources from university to vocational & technical training.
Do more to back long-term, stable relationships, particularly marriage and family life.
Enhance the provision of social housing from local councils and housing associations.