The Social Liberal Forum has been established by a group of Liberal Democrats who believe it is important to develop an organisation within the Liberal Democrat “umbrella” with the specific goal of celebrating and developing social liberal thought and approaches within the party.
The Social Liberal Forum represents the coming together of a number of individuals who have formerly been involved in the Beveridge Group and the Reinventing the State Group (which oversaw the publication of the Reinventing the State collection of essays in 2007), and others.
Our aim is to foster debate, and seek to develop and enunciate social liberal ideas and approaches, by developing a network of like-minded individuals across the UK.
The party is justly proud of its social liberal heritage, not least its successes in laying the foundations of the modern welfare state before the First World War (including the introduction of the state pension, national insurance and labour exchanges) and through William Beveridge’s work thirty years later. More recently too, social liberalism has been (and remains) the mainstream political philosophy within the Liberal Democrats. It has had a major impact on the party’s manifesto and policy statements over recent decades.
The establishment of this new organisation, marking the centenary of Lloyd George’s People’s Budget, is timely. It is crucial that the party develops new approaches to deal with the pressing challenges of the early 21st century, such as rising inequality, declining social mobility, global financial chaos and climate change.
Social liberalism provides answers to these challenges that economic liberalism alone cannot.