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

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Reform responds to furlough extension announcement

Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement that furlough will be extended to March 2021, Charlotte Pickles, Director, Reform think tank, said:

“The extension of full furlough will provide welcome relief to those businesses and individuals facing a very difficult Winter.

“This will not, however, be sufficient to save jobs if the Government continues to resort to the blunt tool of lockdowns after December 2nd.

“It is essential that the next four weeks are used to fix NHS Test and Trace, which today reported its lowest ever performance statistics. Without this, a cycle of lockdown, release and repeat will drive even greater economic damage.”

Charlotte's commentary was covered by The Sun


Report coverage: Tools for transforming lives

On 30 October, Reform published 'Tools for transforming lives: using technology to reduce reoffending'. 

Report author, Aidan Shilson-Thomas, wrote for Public Technology to mark the report launch. Read it here


Report coverage: A force for change

Published on Thursday 29 October, this Reform Perspectives was covered exclusively by The Times and Today Programme.

Ele Con Home

Conservative Home, 18 October 2020

To coincide with the launch our Reform's report, 'Resilient public services in an age of cyber threats', Director of Research, Eleonora Harwich, wrote for Conservative Home on what needs to be done to bolster our cyber security.

Read here.


Report coverage: Resilient public services in an age of cyber threats

On 15 October, Reform published 'Resilient public services in an age of cyber threats'. 

The report was covered on: Computer Weekly, DIGIT and UK Authority


33% jump in number waiting 52 weeks for treatment is unacceptable, says think tank  

Responding to NHS statistics on the growing backlog of care, Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research, Reform think tank, said: 

“The number of patients waiting for more than 52 weeks for treatment jumped 33 per cent between July-August. This means that an extra 28,000 individuals face future ill health or disabilities, due to delays in their treatment. This is unacceptable and requires urgent attention. 

“While some progress is being made on median waiting times, at 54% the NHS is well under its target of 92% of patients starting treatment within 18 weeks.  

“A pragmatic approach to this capacity issue is now urgently needed. Local health teams need to lead the response by reorganising resources and creating specialist centres to deal with particular procedures, repurposing Nightingale facilities, and extending contracts with private providers.”  


Politics Live, 5 October 2020

Reform Director, Charlotte Pickles, appeared on BBC Politics Live.

Watch it back here.


Reform think tank responds to the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan      

Serious risk that new jobs plan won’t work, says think tank

Responding to Chancellor’s statement, Aidan Shilson-Thomas, Senior Researcher, Reform think tank, said:

“The Government’s new scheme is rightly trying to prevent a looming jobs bloodbath without propping up zombie jobs. It is not clear they have found that balance.

“This follow up to furlough has an in-built disincentive for employers, unlike the schemes in Germany and France where the State alone covers the costs of hours not worked. Why would an employer, struggling to stay afloat and uncertain when the economic tide will change, pay this additional cost? Many may opt for simply reducing workers’ hours without top up or proceeding with redundancy.

“Particularly worrying, the Chancellor does not seem to have allocated any further funding for retraining and upskilling, despite the fact that unemployment looks set to keep rising. This is a black hole in the Government’s thinking.”


BBC News, 11 August 2020

Charlotte Pickles was interviewed by BBC News on the latest labour market update from the ONS. 

Charlotte made the case for extending the furlough scheme beyond October 31, arguing that the financial costs represent good value for money and would stave off costly economic ramifications. 

Watch it back here


Good Morning Britain, 11 August 2020

Reform Director, Charlotte Pickles, spoke to Good Morning Britain about the latest employment update from the ONS. 

Charlotte warned that, without Government intervention, we're headed for an employment crisis on par with the Great Depression. 

Watch it back here from 1.47. 

The i

Government must support older career changers and introduce furlough ‘flextension’, says think tank

Responding to the latest ONS Labour Market Update, Reform think tank Director, Charlotte Pickles, said:

“Today’s headline data masks the true extent of the unemployment crisis we’re heading towards. The unemployment rate may be stable, but almost three quarters of a million fewer people are on payroll, the number claiming unemployment benefits has more than doubled and economic inactivity is rising – plus millions remain on furlough.

“At the same time, we have a hiring crisis. Many of the jobs disappearing in sectors such as leisure and hospitality won’t come back. While the Government has pledged serious investment to support young people, they have all but ignored the challenge facing older workers, many of whom will have to switch careers and require support to retrain.

“Ministers should also consider a ‘flextension’ to the furlough scheme. The threat of a second wave and further local lockdowns will damage the economic recovery, simultaneously scrapping the furlough scheme risks a jobs bloodbath in the Autumn. Extending the scheme with greater flexibility, only for those sectors hardest hit, could provide a lifeline for millions.”  

Covered in The i and Personnel Today 


Reform backs Labour call for NAO Job Retention Bonus probe   

Bridget Phillipson MP, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has today (17 July) called for the National Audit Office (NAO) to launch an inquiry into the Job Retention Bonus scheme and whether it is good value for money. 

Responding, Reform’s Director of Research, Eleonora Harwich, said:

“We back this call from the Labour Party. 

“There is a real risk that much of the £9bn earmarked for the Job Retention Bonus will end up as ‘deadweight’ spending. Businesses who were always planning to return furloughed employees stand to benefit from some extra cash, regardless of their financial situation. Given the devastating impact of coronavirus on the public finances, this is something that we cannot afford to happen. 

“The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been a success. There is a risk that this may blemish it. We urge the Chancellor to reconsider this policy.” 


Newsnight, 7 July 2020

Reform Director, Charlotte Pickles, appeared on BBC Newsnight, ahead of the Chancellor's Summer Economic Statement.

Watch it back, here.

City AM

City AM, 7 July 2020

Ahead of the Chancellor’s Summer Economic statement, Charlotte Pickles wrote a joint article with Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute, for City A.M. Making the case for a £3.2 billion support package, they warned: “It took several years for jobs to recover from each of the last three recessions, and this recession is like no other.”

Con Home

Conservative Home, Sunday 5 July

Reform Director, Charlotte Pickles argued in Conservative Home that “delaying decisions about investment in employment and skills could be catastrophic,” ahead of the Chancellor's Summer Economic Statement.