Reform's research and commentary is regularly featured in the media. You can find press coverage of Reform's work here.

We are always happy to comment on policy issues relevant to our work. If you would like a quote, an interview, or a background briefing, please email


City AM

CITY AM, 10 October 2019

Imogen Farhan, Researcher at Reform, was published in a debate piece in City AM on whether winter fuel allowance should be means-tested. 

Read here.


Take winter fuel allowance from rich pensioners, urges think tank

All Parties should commit to means-testing the Winter Fuel Allowance at the next general election, says the Reform think tank.

Analysis of figures published today by the Department for Work and Pensions show that last year 11.57 million pensioners received between £100 - £300 to help heat their homes, at a cost of almost £2 billion.

However, the think tank argues that this is unfair with fewer than 10 per cent of over-60s households in fuel poverty.

26 per cent of single-parent households, in comparison, are unable to heat their homes.

Tenants in the private sector are at the highest risk of fuel poverty, with 19.4% unable to heat their homes. Less than 4% of over 65s live in the private rental sector.

The think tank is calling for the Winter Fuel Allowance to be means-tested. This would mean that the poorest pensioners would continue to receive this vital benefit, while enabling the savings to be reinvested in cash-strapped public services.

Commenting, Reform Researcher, Imogen Farhan, said:

“Party’s must set aside concerns about the ‘Grey Vote’ and reform this overly-generous benefit.

“It is vital that those struggling to heat their homes receive support, but handing out cash to wealthy pensioners is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“Means-testing the Winter Fuel Allowance would enable much need public funds to be redirected to those in greatest need.

"With working families struggling to make ends meet, politicians should take this opportunity to create a more generationally fair system.”

Public Technology

Public Technology, 4 October 2019

Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research and Head of Tech Innovation at Reform was featured in Public Technology in an article on AI and the law. 

Read here.

City AM

City AM, 2 October 2019

Dr Luke Heselwood, Senior Researcher at Reform's Letter to the Editor was featured in City AM. The letter covered homelessness death numbers released by the Office for National Statistics.

Read it here

Today programme

BBC Radio 4 Today, 1 Oct 2019

Charlotte Pickles, Director of Reform, spoke to the Today programme about the Government’s tough on crime announcements, from the Conservative Party Conference.

Listen from 1.18 here.

The Times logo

Tragic rise in deaths of homeless shows Government policies are failing, says think tank 

Commenting on statistics from the ONS showing the highest year-to-year increase in deaths of homeless people, Dr Luke Heselwood, Senior Reform Researcher, said:

“These tragic figures show that the Government’s policies to tackle homelessness are failing.

“One year on from the flagship Homelessness Reduction Act and the Rough Sleeping Strategy, which were meant to bolster efforts to prevent homelessness, the number of people dying on our streets should not be on the rise.

“Short-term, hand-to-mouth funding for local services has inhibited councils' efforts to implement this legislation and prevent those at risk from becoming homeless. Long-term sustainable funding for these services is a must to reverse this terrible trend.” 

Featured in The Times, The Independent, The Daily Mail and LocalGov.

Charlie Politics Live

Politics Live, 27 September 2019

Charlotte Pickles, Director of Reform, appeared on Politics Live to discuss the latest policy news.

Watch it back here.

Public Technology

Public Technology, 13 September 2019

Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research and Head of Tech Innovation at Reform was featured in Public Technology in an article on bias in data and AI systems. 

Read it here.


Labour's welfare pledges hugely concerning, warns think tank

Commenting on Jeremy Corbyn's welfare reform pledges, Reform think tank Director and former Expert Advisor to the Rt Hon Ian Duncan-Smith MP, Charlotte Pickles, said: 

"Jeremy Corbyn’s welfare pledges will cost billions and undermine the fundamental principle of a ‘something for something’ welfare state. 

"There is no doubt that some benefits should be more generous to ensure people get the support they need, but the public expect the welfare system to have basic checks and balances. They also expect those who can work do so. Ending all sanctions and scrapping the Work Capability Assessment undermines this.

"A ‘something for nothing’ welfare state not only alienates taxpayers, but also traps claimants on benefits. Labour should think again." 

Covered by various outlets. 


Reform think tank reaction to the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP’s, Labour Party Conference speech

On the Shadow Chancellor’s confirmation that Labour will end Universal Credit, Charlotte Pickles, Director of Reform think tank, said:

“Scrapping Universal Credit is a regressive step.

“Labour’s stance would waste the £2 billion so far spent on setting up the benefit. And yet another complicated redesign would create further instability for claimants.

“Universal Credit needs reform, but just like abolishing Ofsted or renationalising all local public services, it’s an ideological stunt not a serious attempt to improve lives.”

On Labour’s free personal care plan, Reform health lead, Claudia Martinez, said:

"Labour’s free personal care plan is not a sustainable solution to our social care crisis.

“The Shadow Chancellor contradicted himself by claiming ‘fair taxation’ will fund his proposals. Younger taxpayers, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet, are being asked to fund the care of wealthier pensioners. That is anything but fair.

“Our social care system does need more funding. But this should come from an insurance-based system where people save to fund their future care costs.”


SheCanCode, 19 September 2019

Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research and Head of Tech Innovation at Reform was featured in SheCanCode's blog post about pursuing a career in tech. 

Read here.

The Independent

Treat drop in young people seeking help for homelessness with caution, urges think tank

Sofa-surfing and post-code lottery in quality of support both factors 

The decline in young people (16-24) seeking support from councils for homelessness, does not account for those who don’t go to local housing services for help.

Statistics published today (Tuesday 17.9.19) show a 29% decrease since 2012/13. 25 per cent of households looking for support were 16 – 24 years old. 

Research by the think tank has previously found that young people go to their local authority once “they have exhausted every friend,” often relying on informal support, such as sofa-surfing.

Commenting on the Office for National Statistics report on UK homelessness from 2005-2018, Imogen Farhan, co-author of Reform’s youth homelessness research, said:

“The drop in young people seeking help for homelessness should be treated with caution. Reform research found that young people in crisis tend to look for a friend with a spare sofa rather than their local council’s housing service.

“There is also a post-code lottery in the ability of local services, such as A&E departments and Jobcentre Plus, to accurately refer young people they encounter who are at risk of homelessness to local housing services.

“These cracks are too big to be papered over. Homelessness prevention need sustainable funding – not more inefficient, short-term pots of cash.”

Covered by the Independent. 

The Independent logo

New homelessness statistics show need for long-term funding not short-term fixes, says think tank

Commenting on the Government’s statutory homelessness figures, Dr Luke Heselwood, Senior Reform Researcher, said:

“The 10 per cent increase in the number of households who are homelessness or at risk of homelessness is damning. Although the number of people who have secure accommodation has also risen, it does not meet demand. Too many people are stranded in temporary accommodation, which is insecure and costly to the taxpayer.

“Short-term thinking and funding has blighted homelessness services. While the £54 million increase in funding announced in the Government’s spending round last week is welcome, it will only be a short-term fix to firefight an issue which requires long-term solutions.

“Longer-term funding for councils is needed, which will allow them to offer people support and advice long before they are at risk of homelessness.”

Covered by the Independent, The MJ, The Big Issue and LocalGov.

The Telegraph

Number of universities on ‘enhanced monitoring’ for improving access for disadvantaged students “deeply concerning”, says Reform think tank

Commenting on the Office for Students announcement that 31 of 41 top Universities have been put on “enhanced monitoring” following the publication of their access plans, Dr Luke Heselwood, Reform education lead, said:

“It is deeply concerning that three quarters of top Universities have been put on ‘special measures’ due to the commitments outlined in their plans to improve access and support for disadvantaged students.

“The OfS is right to require that elite universities produce and publish access plans, but these figures show a disconnect between ambition and reality.

“Universities cannot argue that this is a money issue. Reform research found that access spending reached £745 million in 2016-17. It is essential that this money is well spent.

“The OfS’ new Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes must also focus on how to achieve value for money, which will require detailed breakdown of how widening participation budgets are spent. Otherwise disadvantaged students and the taxpayer will continue to lose out.”

Covered by the Telegraph and the Independent

Reform logo

Untargeted spend risks widening attainment gap between rich and poor schools, says think tank

Commenting on education spending pledges in the 2019 spending round, Reform Education lead, Dr Luke Heselwood, said:

“The levelling-up of spend across schools will raise per pupil funding and school spend. But because the money is not targeted, more affluent areas are set to benefit most. This will deepen the already stark attainment gap across the country.

“The salary rise for newly qualified teachers is significant and welcome. However, 20 per cent of current teachers earn less than £30,000, 10 per cent earn just over. Both groups will want a pay rise and the Department for Education needs to think about this. 

“The £400 million promised for further education is a good start, but a longer-term funding commitment is needed to bring parity between technical and academic education.”