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In this week’s newsletter:

  • What to expect in the Chancellor’s ‘mini-budget’
  • How do UK household living standards compare to other countries?
  • How will inflation affect levelling up?
  • Onward at the party conferences.

Nuggets of the week

Emergency Budget. The Chancellor will announce his growth plan on Friday. It is likely to include reversals of the planned national insurance and corporation tax rises and reforms to liberalise pensions’ investment and City bonuses. The economic argument is clear: we need to take drastic action to raise the UK’s headline rate of growth. But the political sell is harder: the proposed tax cuts will likely benefit people and businesses in London more than those elsewhere, and real wages for workers outside the financial sector are falling steeply. 

By-election klaxon. Labour MP for West Lancashire Rosie Cooper is standing down after 17 years. By-elections always spark excitement as bellwethers of the public mood. But commentators should be careful about drawing too many conclusions in West Lancashire. Onward’s analysis reveals it is not one of the Red Wall seats that have shifted to the Conservatives in recent years. Quite the opposite, in fact. In 2019, voters there swung away from the party while other places in the North turned blue. 

Network to get work. A new study has underscored the extent to which social connections are crucial for finding work. Using LinkedIn data, it evidenced the “weak ties” theory that more remote connections may be of more help than close friends because they have access to new information. This reinforces Onward’s recent research that explored how young people rely on connections for job opportunities, with almost one third of 18-34 year olds reporting that they found work via professional networks. 

Lifting all ships? The Financial Times’ John Burn-Murdoch examines international living standards. While the wealthiest UK households are some of the richest internationally, middle and lower income households fare considerably worse. On the current trajectory, the average Slovenian household will be better off than the average British household by 2024, and the average Polish family will move ahead before the end of the decade. 

Energy security. The i Newspaper reported last week that new BEIS Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has hit pause on the Government’s Energy Security Bill, and may ditch it completely. The wide-reaching bill was designed to lay the groundwork for the UK’s future energy system and create a pathway to scale up new technologies such as carbon capture, hydrogen and heat pump. i reports that the Government instead wishes to prioritise reforms to the electricity market. These could include decoupling gas and electricity prices and moving to locational electricity pricing, which recent Onward research explores in detail. 

News and media

Inflation up, levelling down? Onward Director Will Tanner warned in the Financial Times that inflation will erode the money available for  levelling up. 

Liz’s rocky road ahead. Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee spoke to the i about the political challenges facing Liz Truss’ Government. 

Retrofitting our way to net zero. Alex Luke wrote for Business Green on how the UK’s poorly insulated homes are driving up energy bills.

Upcoming events

From panel events to drinks receptions and policy roundtables, we are running a busy events programme with leading politicians at the Conservative and Labour party conferences. 

We have already announced events with Lisa Nandy, Michael Gove, Tom Tugendhat and Ben Wallace and we’ll be announcing more headline speakers this week.

Click here if you are interested in attending any of our events at the Conservative or Labour party conferences.

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