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Thanks for supporting Onward this year, here’s what’s coming in 2024

- 22/12/23 Onward Newsletter
Sebastian Payne
Director of Onward

Well, what a political ride 2023 has been. Onward has been on a fantastic journey over the last 12 months — publishing over 20 pieces of research, from identifying the Conservatives’ Missing Millennial voters, to why we’re all feeling burnt out, to how to level up the country.

We’ve hosted over 55 public events – including our biggest-ever Conservative and Labour party conference programmes with over 160 speakers – and welcomed seven cabinet members, 21 ministers, five metro mayors and five from the shadow frontbench.

A big thank you to everyone who has supported us this year, whether sharing and contributing to our research papers, attending our events, or donating to support our work. After being founded five years ago, Onward’s influence in Westminster and beyond has only grown. You are a key part of that.

With a general election approaching, next year is set to be a big one for both the centre right and Onward. I’m delighted to share our research plans and some new recruits to keep us at the heart of the policy debate.

Our research

Onward’s research for 2024 will fall into five programmes — some of which continue the themes in 2023 while others open up new areas of focus:

New Deal for Parents: Following on from our Missing Millennials work, we will be exploring new ideas to make it easier for more people to start families by helping them get on the housing ladder, cutting their taxes, and improving access to childcare. 

Talent, Skills, Opportunity: Improving school standards has been one of the major successes over the past 13 years. But too many colleges, universities, and workplaces still don’t give people the skills to succeed. Taking the cue from our levelling up work, we will be developing fresh ideas to unleash talent across the country.

Energy and Environment: We will continue to develop practical ways to decarbonise the economy — hitting the UK’s ambitious net zero targets in a sensible way, with a focus on infrastructure planning and boosting the uptake of EVs.

Science Superpower: We’ll be pursuing bold ideas to make the UK a science superpower, by unleashing our research and development potential, improving our international collaborations, and ensuring we have the right capital and regulations to support innovation.

Future Politics: As the volatile political environment continues to evolve, we will be exploring some of the significant societal and electoral trends in the run to the election, including through our Future of Conservatism project.

We’re also delighted to launch a new bespoke project. Oxford academic Dr Ben Caldecott will chair Onward’s new ‘Inflation Prevention Project’, investigating why the UK has seen higher price rises, including energy and food, than other major European economies.

Our team 

To pursue our research, we’re announcing several new hires to the Onward team. We are thrilled to welcome Tim Leunig as our part-time Chief Economist. Tim advised two Chancellors and served for ten years as a top government adviser, and will be contributing to Onward’s research across all programmes, splitting his time with Public First from next year.

Phoebe Arslanagić-Little is joining Onward to spearhead the ‘New Deal for Parents’, while our new Policy Fellow Jess Lister will work on our ‘Talent Skills and Opportunity’ programme alongside her work at Public First.

We’re also pleased to announce that our own Shivani H Menon has been promoted to Senior Researcher, and our Getting to Zero team is growing with two new researchers: Laurence Fredricks and Ellie Craven.

We’ll be sharing more about our plans in January. Until then, from everyone at Onward, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


🗓️ Upcoming Events

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We are delighted to invite you to our latest panel event to celebrate the launch of Onward’s new project A New Deal for Parents.

Both the housing and cost of living crises fall hardest on young families, while prospective parents struggle to access the fertility assistance they need. Onward research has already analysed the UK’s broken childcare system, making clear both the financial pressures it piles on parents and the barriers it erects in the path of those keen to start a family.

The New Deal for Parents project aims to set out a policy programme to make it easier to start and support a family. The Project looks to influence Government policy and develop a manifesto to help put families at the centre of politics.

This panel will bring together leading members of parliament and Onward’s researchers to discuss the nature of the problem facing young families today, how we got here, and what needs to change to make it easier to be a parent in the UK.

We hope you are able to join us.

Date: Monday 15th January
Time: 18:00- 19:00
Location: Parliament

To sign up for this event, please click here.

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Across the UK, philanthropists have been funding causes close to the hearts of communities. Their contributions have set up football clubs for at-risk youth, regenerated town centres, and advocated for a greener future.

Yet the highest earners and wealth owners are donating proportionately less and too few wealthy donors are participating in philanthropy. As one in five charities edge towards bankruptcy, philanthropy has never been more important.

This event will celebrate the launch of Onward’s upcoming philanthropy report which explores a range of key issues around simplifying Gift Aid, reforming the wealth and financial advice sector to provide better advice on philanthropy, and on government advocacy for philanthropy.

The expert panel, led by Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, will discuss how the UK can increase philanthropic funding for charities and target it towards the places and causes that stand to benefit the most.

The discussion will be followed by a short Q&A.

Date: Thursday 25th January
Time: 10:00 – 11:00
Location: Central Westminster

To sign up for this event, please click here.

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Restitch is back! Following the success of our events in Halifax and London last year, we’re excited to announce a new summit on Friday 8th March 2024 in Coventry to explore how we can restitch our society and our places. The summit will bring together key thinkers, practitioners, local leaders and everyday citizens to discuss the biggest issues facing communities.

We are thrilled to be partnering again with Create Streets, and to be joined this year by a new co-host: Labour Together. Do save the date and keep an eye out for registration details. If you are interested in supporting Restitch as a sponsor please contact admin@restitchsummit.org and visit www.restitch.org for more information.


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