FREER will refocus the political debate, shifting attention towards free enterprise and social freedom. Britain’s upcoming departure from the EU provides a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to reassess and reform our country across the whole range of policy areas. The ideas that FREER will champion are those that coalesce around an enduring agenda of unleashing the enterprise, imagination, and inspiration of individual men and women. The initiative is energetic and hopeful for a country that is open, dynamic, enterprising, and thriving.
Transformations in communications and technology provide grounds for enormous optimism. Individuals can access and provide goods and services tailored to their specific needs, and based on their particular skills, in ways that would have been unimaginable just a generation ago. Prospects for economic and personal growth, and enhanced societal quality of life should be almost boundless.
FREER will pursue its mission in a range of different ways:
- A publications programme, producing 10 papers per year
- A podcast series, regular blogs, and a strong social media presence
- A programme of events in Westminster, throughout the UK, and at relevant conferences
- A profile for spokespeople and policy ideas in the national media
- Meetings with those able to influence and design policy
What makes FREER important and distinctive?
There are many policy and campaign initiatives, but FREER will be unique in its advocacy of genuinely free-market ideas and its emphasis on both economic and social liberalism. This is a critical time for policymaking, and beyond Brexit, there is an unparalleled opportunity to shape our country, framed around a contemporary reimagining of these ideas.
About the Director
Rebecca Lowe is Director of FREER. She is also a research fellow at the IEA, and a columnist and assistant editor at ConservativeHome. She has worked for various political research organisations, as a parliamentary researcher, a political consultant, and in the arts, education, and charity sectors. Until late 2017, she was State and Society Fellow and Convenor of the Research Group on Political Thought at Policy Exchange, where she researched and published on topics including UK and international politics, income and wealth distribution, work and welfare policy, equality and need, higher education, and social reform. In the 2015 general election, she was Conservative parliamentary candidate for her home seat, City of Durham, where she gained the sixth biggest increase in the party’s vote, nationally.
About the Co-Chairs
Luke Graham is Co-Chair of FREER. He has been Member of Parliament for Ochil & South Perthshire since June 2017 — the first Conservative ever to represent the constituency. Educated at a comprehensive state school, Luke is an accountant by trade, and prior to his election spent eleven years in industry. Luke’s career to date has seen him work for start-ups and multinationals in the UK, Asia, and the United States. Luke is a passionate Unionist and champion of social mobility. In Parliament, Luke serves on the Public Accounts Committee, and has recently been appointed to the Finance Committee of Parliament.
Lee Rowley is Co-Chair of FREER. He has been Member of Parliament for North East Derbyshire since June 2017 — the first Conservative to represent his home area for eighty years. State-school educated, and the first in his family to go to university straight from school, Lee comes from mining stock with both of his grandfathers having been employed at nearby pits, and his aunt having worked for Arthur Scargill during the miners’ strike. Passionate about social mobility and aspiration, Lee spent fifteen years in the transport, financial services, and consultancy sectors before joining the Commons. He has previous experience as a local Councillor, charity board member, and now serves on the Public Accounts Select Committee, scrutinising spending and value for money across the public sector.
Relationship with the IEA
Initially, FREER will be housed within the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). Whilst FREER will have its own advisory board, brand, and image, it will be financed, run and operated by the IEA.
However, this does not imply endorsement of FREER’s statements by the IEA, or endorsement of IEA statements by FREER.
The Institute of Economic Affairs is an independent charity and does not support any political party or any individual politician. It seeks to promote a better understanding of the role free markets can play in solving economic and social problems. It is happy to work with politicians of all parties – as well as many people of no political persuasion – in an endeavour to promote this mission. It also works on initiatives such as FREER, across the political spectrum, in pursuit of its mission. However, the IEA takes no corporate position on policy positions and the positions taken by authors in printed materials are those of the author(s) alone. The IEA in no way endorses the specific text put forward by individual authors, nor the political party to which an author may belong.