Dr Spencer Pitfield JP is Director of the Conservative Policy Forum.
Since its re-launch in January 2011, the Conservative Policy Forum (CPF) has gone from strength to strength. This is in no little part down to the energy and enthusiasm for grass roots policy development within our Party membership.
I have always known that for any political party to be truly successful policy development needs to receive contributions equally from all areas of the party – elected colleagues, party members and professionals alike.
Over the last four years our CPF national team has worked with colleagues across the country and we now have 250 different groups representing every region. Some two thousand members have helped us draw out the crucial issues that not only informed our General Election manifesto but also brought forward other policy ideas which must be tackled for the success of our country into this next Parliamentary cycle.
Our discussion programme has been at the heart of our activity, and we have made sure we covered topics from almost every government portfolio. In the last four years we have published over 30 discussion briefs and received 3,000 written submissions from members and supporters. A lot of high quality policy work has taken place.
CPF colleagues will have seen many policies in our General Election manifesto which came forward as part of our national policy programme. This list is by no means exhaustive but areas of policy promoted by the CPF which were reflected directly in the manifesto include:
- a UK Bill of Rights
- a national preventative health programme (focused on diabetes)
- raising the Inheritance Tax threshold
- seven day per week GP opening
- commitment to enhanced Zero Emissions infrastructure
- dealing with childhood obesity
- integration of health and social care
- rural broadband
- driving-up still further national mobile phone coverage levels.
Special thanks must go to the CPF’s Chairman Rt. Hon. Oliver Letwin MP and Jo Johnson MP, Chairman Number 10 Policy Board, for the way that member views were taken to the very heart of the manifesto formulation process. It was my very great honour to feed member and expert Sectoral policy proposals directly into the manifesto grid for consideration and review.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Emma Pidding, Chairman of our National Convention, Christopher Fraser, Chairman of Alumni/CPF Vice-Chairman and Tiz Baskerville, CPF Vice-Chairman, for all their support and help throughout this last Parliament. It has been a great team effort between a wonderful group of voluntary and professional colleagues.
In the weeks ahead our national team will be working hard to make sure we are able to re-launch at the very soonest possible time. We have plans to make our CPF even better and will fully assess what went well and what we can improve on still further.
So lots to look forward to as we build on the CPF’s achievements from the last Parliament!