Cambridge historian and family members announced as joint winners of one of the biggest cash prizes in world economics

 (Left to righ): Hilary Cooper, Simon Szreter, Ben Szreter

A ‘radical’ plan by three members of the same family to boost UK growth has been named as one of the first winners of the £100,000 Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) Economics Prize, one of the world’s largest prizes in the discipline

The inaugural IPPR prize was introduced to reward innovative ideas to reinvigorate the UK economy that force a ‘step change in the quality and quantity of the UK’s economic growth’.

Simon Szreter, Professor of History and Public Policy at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St John’s College, Hilary Cooper, economics consultant, who is married to Professor Szreter, and their son Ben Szreter, chief executive of Cambridge United Community Trust, worked together on a detailed plan to enable faster UK growth by investing in generous and universal welfare provision.

Professor Szreter said: “The key proposal, emanating directly from history, is that generous and inclusive universal welfare provision should be reconceptualised as an absolutely crucial economic growth promoter, not as merely a ‘tax burden’ on the productive economy.

“It has been proven to perform this function twice before in our history and its abandonment has twice led to faltering and then disastrous declines in national productivity, as is being currently experienced with the much-vaunted ‘productivity puzzle’.”

The trio shared the first prize with the other joint winner - seven co-workers at the London Economics consultancy who argued that a ‘big push’ towards decentralisation would unlock prosperity around the UK.

Stephanie Flanders, head of Bloombery Economics, chaired the panel of judges as they looked for the best answers to the question, “What would be your radical plan to force a step change in the quality and quantity of the UK’s economic growth?”

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Image: (Left to righ): Hilary Cooper, Simon Szreter, Ben Szreter

Credit: Graham CopeKoga

Reproduced courtesy of the University of Cambridge


The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, is also the President of the Cambridge Network.

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