ThinkTent – a joint venture between the Institute of Economic Affairs and the TaxPayers’ Alliance – has become a staple of the fringe scene at Conservative Party Conference. We were looking forward to seeing you all in Birmingham but as the coronavirus pandemic drove the conference online, ThinkTent is still part of the action.

From Sunday 4th October, ThinkTent will be hosting politicians, journalists, academics, and business leaders to discuss the key issues facing the country. And as we’re going virtual, anyone can join in the discussion on this website, the ThinkTent YouTube channel, and the IEA and TPA social media accounts.

The full schedule is below.

ThinkTent 2020 Schedule

Sunday 4th October | 12:30 – 13:30
Hosted by the TPA and the IEA
Carbon tax – Is this the right’s answer to climate change?
A carbon tax has long been a point of contention for many who support free markets. Could it be freedom’s answer to climate change, or are its costs too onerous on consumers and businesses? This panel will debate whether such a tax could be implemented, and the likely changes that would be needed in our economy for it to work.

Danielle Boxall (Chair), Media Campaign Manager of the TaxPayers’ Alliance
Stephen Fitzpatrick, Founder of the Zero Carbon campaign and Founder & CEO of OVO Energy
Professor Dieter Helm, Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford
Jamie Whyte, Classical liberal academic and author of “Crimes Against Logic”
Rich Woolley, Head of Energy and Climate Change at the Chemicals Industry Association

Sunday 4th October | 16.00-17.00
Hosted by the Heritage Foundation
UK Free Trade After Brexit: The United States and Beyond
In the months since Brexit, the British government has moved assertively to demonstrate its commitment to free trade. The U.K. recently announced an agreement in principle for a free trade agreement with Japan, and it has negotiated a wide range of continuity agreements with existing trading partners. But the U.K.’s most significant negotiating partner as a newly-independent trading nation is the United States. The fourth round of the Anglo-American negotiations have concluded, and both sides have announced their determination to reach an agreement. Join Liz Truss, the Secretary of State for International Trade, as she headlines a panel that includes Shanker Singham and Dan Hannan that will examine the UK-US negotiations and their place in Britain’s broader return to its historic role as a free trading nation after Brexit.

Ted Bromund (Chair), Senior Research Fellow in Anglo‑American Relations Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, Heritage Foundation
Rt Hon Liz Truss MP, Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade and Minister for Women and Equalities
Shanker Singham, CEO of the Competere Group, Chairman of Global Vision UK, a former cleared advisor to USTR and the UK Trade Secretary, and Chairman of GENN (Global Economic Neural Networks)
Dan Hannan, UK trade adviser, President of the Initiative for Free Trade and Visiting Professor at the University of Francisco Marroquín

Monday 5th October | 13:00 – 14:00
Hosted by the TPA and the IEA
Fiscal policy: tax and spend and how to repair the public finances after coronavirus
Taxpayer support packages have put a burden on the public finances and the full economic damage of lockdown measures will not be clear for months. But none thing we do know is the UK finds its public finances in dire straits. Do we have to accept tax rises post-covid, or does the government need to be bold and ditch the big state economic agenda? Join us for this thought-provoking panel discussion with some of the best thinkers on this critical issue facing the country.

Andy Silvester (Chair), Deputy Editor, City A.M.
Steve Baker MP, Member of Parliament for Wycombe
Mark Littlewood, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs
Matthew Lynn, Financial Columnist at the Daily Telegraph
John O’Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance

Monday 5th October | 14:30 – 15:30
Hosted by the TPA, IEA and the Free Speech Union
The free speech crisis
Many people deny the existence of cancel culture, but when people can be hounded from jobs for expressing certain views, a proper debate is needed on the future of free speech. ThinkTent, together with the Free Speech Union, hosts a discussion about the rise of intolerance for differing viewpoints, how it affects different walks of life, and asks what can be done to turn back the tide.

Mark Littlewood (Chair), Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs
Inaya Folarin Iman, Founder and Director of the Equiano Project
Laurence Fox, Actor and Activist
Toby Young, General Secretary of the Free Speech Union

Monday 5th October | 18:00 – 19.00
Hosted by the IEA and RSSB
Can the railways get back on track post-covid?
Coronavirus has had a seismic impact on our transport networks. With a nationwide lockdown keeping people at home and a stalled drive to get people back to the office, passenger numbers on trains plummeted and recovery is slow. What does this mean for a rail network now reliant on state support? How can we get the industry back on its feet and are the challenges a blip or more long-term?

Syed Kamall (Chair), Academic and Research Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs
Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook
Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Minister of State for Transport
Chris Loder MP, Member of Parliament for West Dorset
Mark Phillips, CEO of the Rail Safety and Standards Board

Tuesday, 6th October | 9.00-10.00
Hosted by the TPA and the IEA
BBC and C4 – What next for the state broadcasters?
Already before the coronavirus, the public were losing faith in our state broadcasters. Now, with streaming services booming and multiple BBC bungles, public broadcasters are fighting for their lives. Can and should the BBC and Channel 4 survive in 21st century Britain, and what changes do they need to make?

Martin Durkin (Chair), CEO of Wag Entertainment
Prof. Philip Booth, Senior Academic Fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs
Andrea Jenkyns MP, Member of Parliament for Morley and Outwood
Duncan Simpson, Research Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance
Rt Hon John Whittingdale OBE MP, Minister of State for Media and Data in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Tuesday, 6th October | 18.00-19.30
Hosted by the IEA
Live with Littlewood: post-conference analysis

Kate Andrews, Economics Correspondent at The Spectator
Stephen Bush, Political Editor at The New Statesman
Ben Bradley MP, Member of Parliament for Mansfield
John O’Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance
James Price, President-Elect of the Oxford Union
Sammy Wilson, Democratic Unionist Party MP for East Antrim