Social Market Foundation

The Social Market Foundation (SMF) is an independent British political public policy think-tank based in Westminster, London. It is one of the 'Top 12 Think Tanks in Britain'[3] and was named 'UK Think Tank of the Year' by Prospect in 2012.[4] Its purpose is to "advance the education of the public in the economic, social and political sciences" and to "champion ideas that marry a pro-market orientation with concern for social justice".[2] Policy ideas are based on the concept of the social market economy.

Social Market Foundation
Formation1989; 32 years ago (1989)
FounderDaniel Finkelstein
TypeThink tank
Registration no.1000971[1]
Legal statusCharity[2]
Purpose"To advance the education of the public in the economic, social and political sciences"[2]
Headquarters11 Tufton Street, Westminster, London, United Kingdom[2]
Coordinates51.5073509°N 0.12775829999998223°W / 51.5073509; -0.12775829999998223[2]
FieldsCost of living, productivity, financial services, Public Sector Reform[2]
Official language
James Kirkup[2]
Chief Economist
Aveek Bhattacharya[2]
Research Director
Scott Corfe[2]
Mary Ann Sieghart (Chair), Baroness Olly Grender, Nicola Horlick, Sir Brian Pomeroy CBE, Matthew d'Ancona, Professor Tim Bale, Peter Readman, Rt Hon Baroness Gillian Shephard[2]
AffiliationsConservative Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats[2]


Founded in 1989, the organisation was cited as ‘John Major's favourite thinktank’[5][6] and two former directors, Rick Nye and Daniel Finkelstein, left to work for the Conservative Party.[7]

In the 1990s it moved closer to New Labour, with Gordon Brown giving a speech about 'social markets' at the Foundation in 2003,[7] and SMF publishing a paper by Gordon Brown in 2004.[8] In 2001, Robert, Lord Skidelsky was replaced as chair by David, Lord Lipsey. It was associated with some of the policies of New Labour, particularly issues of public service reform.[citation needed]

In September 2010 Mary Ann Sieghart, the political and social affairs journalist, took over as Chair.

Policy goals

The SMF’s remit is to focus on domestic public policy, particularly the public services and welfare. The majority of publications are therefore focused on issues concerning education, health care and employment. However it also produces publications on wide-ranging subjects such as road-pricing, casinos and energy policy.[citation needed]

The SMF has a 20 member Policy Advisory Board, which as of 2018 included the Members of Parliament (MPs) Stephen Kinnock, Norman Lamb, Chris Leslie, Alison McGovern, Tom Tugendhat, Chuka Umunna and John Woodcock.[9]


The Social Market Foundation has been a given a B grade for funding transparency by Who Funds You?[10]

See also


  1. "Charity overview". Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  2. Hope, Toby Helm and Christopher (6 October 2017). "The top twelve think tanks in Britain". Retrieved 6 October 2017 via
  3. Prospect. "Think Tank of the Year Awards 2012". Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  4. Shrimsley, R (1995), 'Defector from SDP to head Tory research', Financial Times, August 24, p. 7
  5. "Mr Major's Speech to the Social Market Foundation". John Major. 9 September 1994. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  6. "Social Market Foundation". New Statesman. 29 May 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  7. Gordon Brown (May 2004). A Modern Agenda for Prosperity and Social Reform (PDF) (Report). Social Market Foundation. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  8. "About Us". Social Market Foundation. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  9. "Social Market Foundation | Who Funds You?". Retrieved 2019-07-07.