Think Tanks

Centre for Social Justice

18 Jan 2010 12:50:18

CSJ recommends £600m transferable tax allowance for married couples with very young children

In a Green Paper on the Family, published today, the Centre for Social Justice has made the case (again) for a recognition of marriage in the tax system.

The report reminds readers why the two parent family is important:

Screen shot 2010-01-18 at 12.28.11 Towards the end of the paper the CSJ outlines the case for a transferable tax allowance and the various options:

"We believe that a transferrable tax allowance should be introduced in the UK. This would send a clear signal in support of marriage as an important institution. It would also have the practical benefit of supporting and recognising those spouses playing vital, unpaid caring roles. This could be achieved in a number of ways with differing costs – all of which are a fraction of the £20-24 billion annual cost of family breakdown. In the long-term we recommend the implementation of a transferable tax allowance for all married couples, but in the current financial climate we recommend a staggered implementation. We believe that as a priority, a transferrable tax allowance should be introduced for married couples with children aged 0-3, the formative years of a child’s life.

Different scenarios could include:

  • For all married couples: £3.2 billion
  • For married couples with dependent children or in receipt of Carers Allowance: £1.5bn
  • For married couples with children under 6: £0.9bn
  • For married couples with children aged 0-3, the most important years for a child’s development: £0.6bn

A transferable tax allowance of the full personal allowance amount would provide an additional £20 per week. We do not believe that this will incentivise marriage, nor should it, but it may encourage more couples to make the transition from co-habitation to marriage and thereby increase the stability of their relationship. Although a modest sum, £20 a week could make a significant difference to low income families. Importantly it will provide the symbolic recognition of the value of marriage."

Download a PDF of the full CSJ Green paper on the family.

29 Nov 2009 11:00:00

Profile of the Centre for Social Justice


The CSJ's Chairman is the former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith MP. Philippa Stroud, CSJ Executive Director, is relatively new to politics having spent most of her life in frontline roles, working alongside the homeless and people with addictions. She is also Tory PPC for Sutton and Cheam. Over the last year significant appointments have been made in preparation for possible changes associated with the likely election of a Conservative government. This includes the recruitment of Gavin Poole, the CSJ’s strategy director. Key members of the CSJ team.

The CSJ was established in 2004 by IDS, Philippa Stroud, Tom Jackson, Cameron Watt and ConservativeHome Editor Tim Montgomerie.

Basic philosophy

The CSJ researches new approaches to persistent forms of poverty and Britain's most acute social problems. It is not a conventional Westminster think tank. It describes itself as a "do tank"; championing and learning from the work of effective grassroots poverty-fighting groups throughout Britain.

The policy work is rooted in the experience and wisdom of the hundreds of small charities, social entrepreneurs and faith based groups that are having great success in tackling Britain’s deepest problems, where the best efforts of the state have failed. The CSJ Alliance of Effective Poverty-Fighters seeks to provide a link between these groups and senior politicians in Westminster and local Government, in order for them to share their hard won expertise.  "We are constantly driven by the need to bring politicians face-to-face with the realities of social breakdown in Britain," they say.  They run "inner city challenges" which bring MPs face to face with social breakdown.  Read Ed Vaizey MP's diary of his own immersion.

The CSJ conducts evidence led and independent policy research that combines data, anecdotal evidence and polling (through YouGov). Through this they seek to gain an accurate picture of poverty in Britain, its causes and consequences, and to define the role the state and other players can and can’t play in its reduction.

The CSJ seeks to address the root causes of poverty, preparing policy proposals aimed at preventing social breakdown, rather than attempting to stabilise or manage social problems.

Continue reading "Profile of the Centre for Social Justice" »

2 Nov 2009 16:32:00

Reforming the criminal justice system


"Order in the Court - restoring trust through local justice" (PDF)

Authors: Centre for Social Justice Courts and Sentencing Working Group chaired by Martin Howe QC

Publication date: 2 November 2009

This report makes a series of recommendations on the reform of magistrates' courts, the probabation service and prisons. It also addresses issues central to the criminal justice system such as sentencing and the rights of victims. In addition the report looks into the treatment of criminals with addictions and mental health problems. The authors suggest a series of proposals to make the criminal justice system fairer and to enable local people to have more say in the process.

30 Sep 2009 10:57:00

Re-working the welfare system


"Dynamic Benefits: Towards Welfare That Works, Part I" (PDF)

"Dynamic Benefits: Towards Welfare That Works, Parts II and III"(PDF)

"Dynamic Benefits: Towards Welfare That Works, Appendices"(PDF)

"Dynamic Benefits: Towards Welfare That Works, Executive Summary" (PDF)

"Dynamic Benefits: Towards Welfare That Works, Preface by the Rt. Hon. Iain Duncan Smith MP"(PDF)

Authors: Centre for Social Justice Economic Dependency Working Group, chaired by Dr Stephen Brien

Publication date: September 2009

This report acknowledges that the benefits system is broken and has perpetuated poverty and worklessness. There are 5.9 million people of working age not working and receiving state benefits along with nearly one million young people not in education, employment or training. This reports suggests a comprehensive reform of the benefits and taxation systems in order to ensure more people are incentivised to return to work and in order to address poverty among the most vulnerable in society.

31 Jul 2009 11:40:00

Reforming family law and promoting marriage


"Every Family Matters - an in-depth review of family law in Britain"(PDF)

Authors: The Centre for Social Justice Family Law Review chaired by David Hodson

Publication date: July 2009

This report seeks to address issues surrounding family break-up and the consequential damage to society. It calls for a reform of family law to encourage the institution of marriage and fairer access to children in the event of divorce. The report calls for Government to recognise marriage in the taxation system and stresses that two parent families represent the best environment for children to be brought up.

27 Apr 2009 12:56:00

A critique of European Family Law


"European Family Law - Faster Divorce and Foreign Law"(PDF)

Authors: The Centre for Social Justice Family Law Working Group chaired by David Hodson

Publication date: 27 April 2009

This report deals with complex family law issues when divorces take place between international couples who are both from EU member states. The report argues that European family law should place more emphasis on attempts of reconciliation and is critical of the speed by which divorce is granted in some European jurisdictions.

30 Mar 2009 13:36:00

Creating a Police Force to be reckoned with


"A Force to be Reckoned With - A Police Report by the Police Reform Working Group"(PDF)

Authors: The Centre for Social Justice Police Reform Working Group, chaired by Ray Mallon.

Publication date: 30 March 2009

This report looks at reforming Britain's police force in order to create a safer, more law-abiding nation. Key recommendations include setting up Interventionist Neighbourhood Teams with a commitment to intervene in instances of disorder, elected Crime and Justice Commissioners for each Police Force area and a greater emphasis on restorative justice and victim's rights.

1 Mar 2009 14:33:00

New proposals for the reform of Britain's prisons


"Locked up Potential - a strategy for reforming prisons and rehabilitating prisoners"(PDF)

Authors: The Centre for Social Justice Prison Reform Working Group, chaired by Jonathan Aitken

Publication date: March 2009

An in-depth report containing 70 policy recommendations for the reform of Britain's failing prison system. Key recommendations include localising the management of the prison system by abolishing the National Offender Management Service and replacing it with a network of Community Prison and Rehabilitation Trusts, scrapping the Titan prison programme and instead building five Mitson Academy model prisons, and making sweeping changes to prison rehabilitation to reduce re-offending.

24 Feb 2009 15:31:00

Dealing with Britain's debt crisis


"Bankrupt Britain - a guide to the state of the British economy"(PDF)

Author: Malcolm Offord

Publication date: 24 February 2009

The author suggests various methods to address Britain's spiralling debt crisis. The report recommends, among other things, the short-term acceptance of the 50p top rate of income tax, a root and branch review of public spending and serious reform of the welfare and benefits system.

12 Feb 2009 16:16:00

Ways to defeat street gang violence in Britain


"Dying to Belong - An In-depth Review of Street Gangs in Britain"(PDF)

Authors: The Centre for Social Justice Gangs Working Group, chaired by Simon Antrobus

Publication date: 12 February 2009

The report states there has been a significant increase in gang culture and associated violence over the past decade. Around 6% of 10-19 year olds belong to a gang and half of the murders committed by young people in London during 2007 were gang-related. Solutions suggested include setting up a Gang Prevention Unit within the Cabinet Office and designated Gang Prevention Zones. The authors recommend greater use of the charitable sector to break down barriers between the police and young people. Furthermore, longer term objectives to prevent gang violence include Early Intervention and addressing family breakdown.