Conference on mental health in the workplace

Wednesday 11 March

Keynote speaker: Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The video can be found here


  • Rt Hon Paul Burstow MP (Chair)
  • Prof Lord Richard Layard, Director, LSE
  • Karen Jackson, Director of Wellbeing, didlaw - ppt
  • Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind
  • Karen Steadman, Senior Researcher, The Work Foundation - ppt
  • Dave Moore, Head of Health, Safety and Wellbeing, Santander - ppt
  • Fiona King, Benefits Rehabilitation Manager, Legal & General - ppt
  • James Kempton, Associate Director, CentreForum - ppt
  • Oonagh Aitken, Chief Executive, CSV - ppt
  • Jan Hutchinson, Director of Programmes, Centre for Mental Health - ppt

Launch of 'Progress matters in Primary too'

21 January 2015


  • James Kempton, associate director, CentreForum (chair)
  • Chris Thoung, researcher, CentreForum
  • Louis Coiffait, CEO, NAHT Edge
  • Zoe Carr, CEO, WISE Academies
  • Lord Storey CBE, Liberal Democrat education spokesman, former head, Plantation Primary School


Justice Minister addresses CentreForum and the Prison Reform Trust

19 November 2014

Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP, Minister for Justice and Civil Liberties, delivered a speech to CentreForum and the Prison Reform Trust which outlined a liberal approach to reforming criminal justice and penal policy. The full text of the speech is below.


Schools minister addresses CentreForum on education policy

27 November 2014

Rt Hon David Laws MP, Minister of State for Schools, chose CentreForum to deliver a speech on early years, schools and college policy in this parliament and beyond. The full text of the speech is below.


Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference 2014: The Big Interview with Baroness Kramer

The Big Interview with Baroness Kramer

Partner: The Transport Hub

Sunday 5th October

The Q&A session with Baroness Kramer, Minister of State for Transport, began with a question about aviation policy and building a new runway. Baroness Kramer was unable to answer the question because it might compromise the independence of the Davies Commission. She was able to speak about reducing aeroplane emissions by 50% by 2050, and the possibility of bio-fuels. Bio-fuels are problematic in that they divert food crops into fuel crops. Kramer said that the technology has a long way to go to solve this, and we have to take a stand with our European partners to reduce emissions. 

An audience member raised the concern that HS2 will never get past Birmingham. Baroness Kramer replied that we are past the point of no return for phase 2. She said that passenger demand for train routes is escalating rapidly, and we are out of train paths. Phase 1 of HS2 is crucial for providing the capacity we need. North of Birmingham the role of HS2 changes – it’s not a commuter route. The midlands and northern cities see the potential to use HS2 as the underlying infrastructure framework for an economic renaissance. The south of England cannot be the single source of economic prosperity, and connectivity is key in changing this – including east to west lines. Baroness Kramer is increasingly working with communities, asking what support they need to drive economic growth. 

Baroness Kramer continued by explaining that Phase 1 will start on the ground in 2017, within the next Parliament, and open in 2026, costing £17.5 billion in total, which is financeable on an annual basis. She asserted that there has been a re-commitment to infrastructure by the coalition government. For instance, they have spent £24 billion on roads – sums not seen in a generation. Baroness Kramer said we have suffered from not spending, just maintaining our roads. 

The next question asked was whether consumers could expect lower fares from an inefficient Network Rail. Baroness Kramer agreed that Network Rail needs to become more efficient, and she has confidence in its recent leadership. For years we weren’t bringing through the management chains the engineering expertise that you need, and we are now playing catch up. The travelling public are using trains in growing numbers, and they are getting more punctuality and reliability after a cultural shift towards customer service. 

When asked about re-nationalising the Network Rail debt, Baroness Kramer responded that many people have a rosy view of British Rail, and she does not want to see a return to those accounting standards. She added that she is very concerned that we continue to finance for five year periods, showing commitment to the industry rather than the stop/start method of chancellors in the old days. There should be an arm’s length relationship between the government and Network Rail.

Baroness Kramer told the audience that the Department for Transport was more collegiate between Tories and Lib Dems that other departments. She believes that the Lib Dems have made sustainability a much larger part of the picture – it has become conventional wisdom, and also provoked a change in thinking in the private sector. She added that the Tories have got the cycling brief, but the coalition put £374 million into cycling, and the benefit to cost ratio of projects that facilitate cycling are enormous.

By Harriet Davison