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What’s Onward This Week

Reversing decades of rising regional inequality across Britain requires successive governments to pick up the baton of levelling up. The Labour Party’s commitment to do so is welcome should they win the next election. However, they’d be wise to avoid hitting the restart button when clear progress is being made and mayors are starting to deliver. 

Since 2010, the Conservatives have done more than any previous government to empower towns and cities in England. Schemes like the Long Term Plan for Towns, which Rishi Sunak launched, will deliver long past this Parliament. Labour’s bid to seize this agenda shows the value of the Conservative levelling up promise and the importance of unlocking opportunity across the whole country.


✍️ Research

The Government’s independent adviser for social cohesion, Dame Sara Khan, published her review this week warning that disinformation, extremism, and intimidation seriously threaten free speech in public life and a democratic way of life. It’s a timely reminder of the danger mistrust poses to British democracy, which our recent Restitch Summitt with Labour Together and Create Streets sought to tackle. 

Khan’s work was informed by Onward’s report, Good Neighbours, which revealed Britain’s low-trust neighbourhoods, which should be a warning light on the dashboard of a developed economy. The review also learns from Onward’s Social Fabric Index 2023, which measures the strength of communities, including volunteering rates, religious attendance and participation in local groups. The index shows that non-economic factors are fraying communities’ social fabric.  


📰 Media Mentions

Onward’s Director Sebastian Payne wrote in the i about knife crime in London. He also spoke to Sky News about why the Conservatives need a message on the NHS.

Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee explains what drive-thru cafes mean for towns in CityAM. 

Head of the New Deal for Parents Phoebe Arslanagić-Little writes for Conservative Home on the necessity of Britain working to close the birth gap.


🌐 Onward Online

Senior Researcher Francois Valentin explains social trust across England.


🗓️ Upcoming Events

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The UK needs to use its global leadership to press for more research and development (R&D) investment internationally to support the poorest and most vulnerable. This event with Development Minister Andrew Mitchell MP will showcase world-leading projects across the UK that benefit local communities and our neighbourhoods worldwide.

Join us in Manchester at the Science & Industry Museum for an insightful tour alongside a curator to learn more about its exhibitions and aims to inspire the future. Following the panel, there will be networking drinks to close the day.

Date: Thursday 11th April 2024

Time: 16:00- 20.00

Location: Science & Industry Museum, Manchester

To attend this event, please sign up here.

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Social enterprises spread wealth, create good jobs, protect high streets, and ease pressure on the overburdened public sector. If more businesses were mission-led, the government wouldn’t have to work so hard to mop up environmental disasters or shore up low-wage earners.

With Small Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake MP, this panel will bring together leading experts to discuss the nature of the problem facing the UK and firms today and what needs to change to ensure that social enterprises become more common in communities.

Date: Tuesday 16th April

Time: 13:30- 14:30

Location: Central Westminster

To sign up for this event, please click here.

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The UK needs a resilient digital economy to boost productivity, but faltering connectivity is holding us back. When vital networks break down, businesses can lose millions in minutes, and productivity crashes.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez MP joins us to explore how to expand reliable connectivity across the country to support businesses and boost productivity.

Date: Tuesday 23rd April

Time: 15:00- 16:00

Location: Central Westminster

To attend this event, please sign up here.


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