New research: On Monday we published our latest report Thin Ice? Understanding voters’ support for net zero, which takes a deep dive into public attitudes towards the Government’s net zero agenda, based on polling from J.L Partners. It reveals very strong support for urgent action to battle climate change, amidst strong concerns regarding household costs when transitioning to a greener lifestyle.

In the media this week

Director Will Tanner spoke on a panel held by Smart Thinking, to discuss why you might want to work in a think tank, what it entails, and how to get started in a career in policy. A recording of the conversation can be found here.

Writing for The Telegraph, Juliet Samuel discusses the rise of ‘zombie companies’ in the UK, that are only managing to make ends meet because of very low interest rates; this was explored in our report Paying it Forward, published last year.


Speaking in the House of Commons, Jack Brereton MP (Stoke-on-Trent South) referenced Onward’s research Network Effects, where we identified Stoke-on-Trent as one of the worst areas of the country for access to employment opportunities by public transport.

Upcoming event

EVENT GRAPHICS 20 10 21 - Onward Newsletter, 09/11/21

On Tuesday 16th November, we will be hosting a discussion on the book ‘Reclaiming Populism: How Economic Fairness can Win Back Disenchanted Voters,’ with authors Eric Protzner and Paul Summerville, Former No.10 Chief of Staff Nick Timothy, and co-author of the British Election Study, Paula Surridge. This discussion will be focussing on the relationship between economic opportunity and political volatility and what this means for future policy.

You can sign up for the event here.

Onward Note

onward team - Onward Newsletter, 09/11/21

On Monday, Onward published a landmark new study into public attitudes towards climate change and the Government’s net zero agenda.

The findings demonstrate that climate change is no longer an issue that only motivates certain groups of voters. Across the board, there is rising angst about climate change within people of every demographic and political persuasion. Almost seven in ten (69%) people believe that tackling climate change is one of the greatest issues facing the UK today, while two-thirds (67%) are keen to see further action from the Government to do so. 

Unsurprisingly, voters are less keen on taking action to tackle climate change when confronted with the idea of paying more to do so. Net support declines to half (50%) for those willing to pay more taxes to reduce emissions, and slightly less (46%) for those happy to pay higher prices. 

But in many ways, these findings should provide hope, not hesitation. It is an indication of a remarkably large base of voters for whom the desire for climate action overrides any fears that they will be left out of pocket. 

This is encouraging, considering that many of the benefits from the transition to net zero – such as a reduction in air pollution – will not be felt for the foreseeable future. However, given that the study found that 78% of voters also believe putting off action now will lead to higher costs later down the line, it is perhaps not surprising.

The Climate Change Committee also argues that net-zero could eventually bring fiscal benefits which will cancel out the costs of net-zero. A delicate balance clearly exists, but if the costs of the net-zero transition are carefully managed, there may be no great unwillingness among voters to take the difficult decisions which will be required to reach net zero.

Policy Bites

Levelling up Secretary Michael Gove has announced a £200 million Community Renewal Fund which will back locally-led projects and breathe new life into towns, villages, and coastal communities across the UK. Link.

The NHS will receive nearly £250 million to digitise diagnostics care, which will drive up efficiency, reduce the administrative burden, and improve waiting list times. Link.

House builders, including SMEs, can now apply for a share of at least £624 million loan financing. The funding will be focused on improving transport, building schools, and unlocking land for new housing. Link.

Quick Links

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methode times prod web bin 838404f6 ca53 11ec b4b6 e30a321b8cd3 - Onward Newsletter, 09/11/21
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1600x 1 - Onward Newsletter, 09/11/21
The Faded Town Where Britain’s Brexit Vision Lives or Dies
Darlington has emerged as the poster child for the government’s flagship plan to increase regional prosperity, but some locals are sceptical.
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The decline of brick-and-mortar retail has been a catastrophe for malls.
cf063133 f123 4359 96b6 bd9b33037b7f.jpg scaled - Onward Newsletter, 09/11/21
The rise, fall and rebirth of the shopping centre | Financial Times
The decline of brick-and-mortar retail has been a catastrophe for malls.