Social Market Foundation

From Wikispooks
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Group.png Social Market Foundation   Powerbase Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Motto"Championing ideas that marry a pro-market orientation with concern for social justice")
FounderDaniel Finkelstein
Headquarters11 Tufton Street, Westminster, London, United Kingdom
Typethink tank

The Social Market Foundation is a London-based think tank established "to provide a source of innovative economic and social policy ideas"[1]. Located in close proximity to the houses of Parliament, the SMF has been influential in helping with the development of policies in the areas of health, education, welfare and pensions policy reform[2].

The Social Market Foundation, as the name suggests, attempts to develop ideas based on a fusion of the two themes of social justice and neo-liberal economics[3]. The Centre for Global Studies think tank originated from within the Social Market Foundation under the name "The Centre for Post-Collectivist Studies"[4]. The Social Market Foundation has provided "the intellectual battering ram" for the government in campaigns to increase competition in public services. Other controversial proposals from the SMF include the suggestion that "the public should be forced to save for a pension unless they specifically opt out"[5].


The Social Market Foundation was founded in 1989 out of the ashes of David Owen's Social Democratic Party (SDP), using money from David Sainsbury[6]. It was created by supporters of Owen although it has never been officially affiliated with any political party. The think tank was originally linked to One Nation Conservatism. However, since the late 1990s it has been more closely identified with New Labour. In 2003 Gordon Brown delivered a keynote speech to the foundation on the subject of social markets.[7]

In its early years of the SMF the thinktank was closely connected to the Conservative Party. Former SMF directors Roderick Nye and Daniel Finkelstein, went on to become Conservative Party advisers[8]and as late as 2000, the SMF described itself as "steering an independent course between conflicting ideologies of conservatism and social democracy".[9]

In April 2000 Conservative Party leader William Hague delivered a controversial speech to the SMF. Hague proposed the creation of detention centres for asylum seekers, arguing that asylum seekers should be detained in former army barracks because:

People are arriving in Britain armed with expert knowledge of how to exploit our asylum laws; what to say on arrival; how to string out appeals and how to remain here if their cases are eventually turned down.[10].

In 2001 Robert Skidelsky was replaced by David Lipsey as chairman. This change led to the the think tank being more closely linked to New Labour and the abandonment of the goal stated on their homepage of steering a course between conservatism and social democracy. Philip Collins, a former speech writer for Tony Blair, became the SMF director at this time[11].

Writing in The Guardian, David Walker describes the history of the SMF:

The Social Market Foundation was founded by refugees from the collapse of the old Social Democrat party, became pro-Tory, then vaguely New Labour. All along, though, it has stood for diminishing the public sector and reducing the role of public bodies as service providers[12].

Fringe events

The Social Market Foundation organises fringe events designed to coincide with the conferences of the three main UK political parties. These events are underwritten by corporate sponsors who are given the opportunity to "benefit from ongoing involvement in discussions about the subject matter and overall design of the fringe event, including input into the speaker line-up and determining the focus of the debate[13].

These fringe events are often sponsored by corporations with a vested interest in the subject being discussed. The SMF facilitates them, providing access to key policy makers and the media. At the Conservative Party conference of 2008 a discussion on waste in the NHS was sponsored by private healthcare provider Bupa[14]. At the same conference, discussion on pension provisions was sponsored by pension provider B&CE[15].

In 2003 and 2004 the Mobile Operators Association sponsored discussions entitled "Listening to the public: does community consultation improve the planning process?", with environment minister Alun Michael MP on the panel. The MOA had been lobbying for to prevent stricter planning regulations on mobile phone masts.


Board members 2009

David Lipsey, Chairman | Viscount Chandos | Gavyn Davies | David Edmonds | Daniel Franklin | Martin Ivens | Graham Mather | Brian Pomeroy

Policy advisory board 2009

Lord Adebowale | Wendy Alexander | Nicholas Barr | Liam Byrne | Vincent Cable | Philip Collins | Simon Crine | Don Cruickshank | Lord Dahrendorf | Ed Davey | Evan Davis | Alan Duncan | Daniel Finkelstein | Liam Halligan | Lord Haskins | Nick Herbert | Peter Lampl | Oliver Letwin | Maria Miller | George Osborne | Lord Parekh | Trevor Phillips | Lord Plant | Stephen Sherbourne | Sue Slipman | Lord Stevenson | John Tizard | Lord Turnbull | Stephen Twigg | Andrew Tyrie | David Willetts

Previous board members

Ian Mulheirn, Former Director | Natalie Tarry | Simon Griffiths | Jessica Prendergrast | Will Hoyles | Robert Skidelsky, Former Chairman | Rick Nye, Former Director | Daniel Finkelstein, Former Director | Philip Collins, Former Director | Ann Rossiter | Dermot Kehoe | John McFadden | Baroness Noakes

Previous policy advisory board members

Victor Adebowale | Wendy Alexander | Tim Allan | Nicholas Barr | Liam Byrne | Vincent Cable | Philip Collins | Ian Cornfield | Don Cruickshank | Matthew d'Ancona | Ralph Dahrendorf | Evan Davis | Ed Davey | Jonathon Freedland | Tony Giddens | David Goodhart | Liam Halligan | Chris Haskins | John Hatherly | Deirdre Hutton | John Jackson | Ruth Kelly | Peter Lampl | Callum Macdonald | George Osborne | Bhikhu Parekh | Mervyn Pedelty | Trevor Philips | Marion Poole | James Purnell | Lord Plant | Ann Rossiter | Stephen Sherbourne | Sue Slipman | Dennis Stevenson | Wendy Thomson | Andrew Turnbull | Adair Turner | Stephen Twigg MP | Andrew Tyrie | David Willetts | Shriti Vadera | Chris Walker



The SMF is funded by charitable foundations, companies and individual donors.[16]The SMF has a business group that companies like pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline and oil conglomerate Shell pay over £10,000 to join. In a 2005 interview, then director Anne Rossiter contends most of the SMF's money comes from two charitable trusts and that all the research is free from corporate financial influence[17].

Corporate sponsors


Abbey | Alliance Against IP Theft | Boots plc | British Library | British Nuclear Group | British Waterways | BUPA | BP | Camelot Group | Centrica | Cicero Consulting Ltd | Confederation of British Industry | Deloitte | Department for Education and Skills | Detica | E.On | Edexcel | EDF | Electoral Commission | General Teaching Council | GlaxoSmithKline | Go-Ahead Group | Groundwork | Food Agency Services | Halifax Bank of Scotland | Harrah’s Entertainment Inc | Health and Safety Executive | Hutchison 3G | Institute of Occupational Safety and Health | Investment Management Association | Jefferson Communications | KPMG | Kraft | Lloyds Pharmacy | Marks and Spencer | Merck Sharp Dohme | Microsoft | Mobile Operators Association | Norwich Union | Ntl | Portman Group | Portland PR | PriceWaterhouseCoopers | Provident Financial | Quality Improvement Agency | Rainer | Sanofi Aventis | Sanofi Pasteur | Shell | Standard Life | Standard Life Healthcare | Standard Life Investments | Sutton Trust | Tescos | Ufi / Learn Direct | United Kingdom Petroleum Industry Association | West Midland Safari Park | Working Links


acevo | Accenture | Arriva | Audit Commission | [[Barclays Bank plc]] | Barrow Cadbury Trust | Blackpool Council | British Nuclear Group Ltd | British Property Federation | The Boots Company plc | BP International Ltd | BUPA | Confederation of British Industry | Centrica plc | Child Poverty Action Group | Crime Concern | Deloitte & Touche | Detica | Diageo | Edge | Esmeé Fairbairn Foundation | Finance and Leasing Association | Getting London Working / Tomorrow’s People | General Teaching Council | Go-Ahead Group plc | Groundwork UK | GlaxoSmithKline | KPMG | Marks & Spencer Shared Services Ltd | Microsoft Ltd | Merck Sharpe Dohme | Mind | Mobile Operators Association | Munro & Forster | ntl | National Youth Agency | OFCOM | Provident Financial | PricewaterhouseCoopers | Sanofi Aventis | School Home Support | Shell International Ltd | Skybet | Standard Life | Sutton Trust | The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust | Tesco | Three | Thames Water Utilities Ltd | Ufl Ltd | UnumProvident[18].

Previous sponsors

Audit Commission | Barclays Bank | Barrow Cadbury Trust | Blackpool Council | Boots | BP International | British Nuclear Fuels | British Property Federation | BSkyB | BUPA | Camelot Group | CBI | Centrica | Chemical Industries Association | Corporation of London | Edexcel | EDS | Electoral Commission | Energywatch | Finance & Leasing Association | Fujitsu | GlaxoSmithKline | Go-Ahead Group | Joseph Rowntree Foundation | Learning & Skills Development Agency | Marks & Spencer | Mobile Operators Association | National House Building Council | National Youth Agency | Pfizer | Pharmacia Pharamaceutical Services Negotiating | Safeway Stores | John Sainsbury | Shell International | Specialist Schools Trust | Sugar Bureau | Sun Microsystems | Sutton Trust Thames Water Utilities | T-Mobile | UBC Media | Ufi/ Learn Direct | UPS | Vauxhall Motors | Vodafone


Many thanks to our Patrons who cover ~2/3 of our hosting bill. Please join them if you can.


  1. Social Market Foundation, About Us, SMF Website, Accessed 09-June-2009
  2. Social Market Foundation, Thinktanks in the news, The Guardian, Accessed 09-June-2009
  3. Social Market Foundation,About Us, SMF Website, Accessed 09-June-2009
  4. The Centre for Global Studies, About Us, The Centre for Global Studies, Accessed 09-June-2009
  5. Nick Mathiason, The marketing of Blairism, The Guardian,31-July-2005, Accessed 09-June-2009
  6. Catherine Pepinster, From left to right, they're all thinking, The Independent, 23-July-2995, Accessed 09-June-2009
  7. Gordon Brown, A Modern Agenda for Prosperity and Social Reform, Speech to the Social Market Foundation, 3-February-2003, Accessed 09-June-2009
  8. Social Market Foundation, Politics, The New Statesman, Accessed 09-June-2009
  9. Social Market Foundation, Social Market Foundation, Web Archive, 12-December-1998, Accessed 09-June-2009
  10. BBC News, Asylum camp plan attacked, BBC News, 18-April-2000, Accessed 09-June-2009
  11. Full Profile, Philip Collins, Speakers for Business, Accessed 03-June-2009
  12. David Walker, Public Manager: Public eye: Caught in the tank trap, The Guardian: Society Pg. 10, 17-September-2008, Accessed via LexisNexis 09-June-2009
  13. Conference Fringe Program, Our Sponsors, Social Market Foundation, Accessed 09-June-2009
  14. Less Waste, More Wellbeing, Conferences 2008, Social Market Foundation, Accessed 09-June-2009
  15. Reform Required?,Conferences 2008, Social Market Foundation, Accessed 09-June-2009
  16. Social Market Foundation, Thinktanks in the news, The Guardian, Accessed 09-June-2009
  17. Nick Mathiason, The marketing of Blairism, The Guardian,31-July-2005, Accessed 09-June-2009
  18. SMF, Annual Report 2005-06, Social Market Foundation, Accessed 09-June-2009