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In this week’s newsletter:

  • Why Nottinghamshire is the key to a clean energy future
  • How £2 could stop the decline of public transport
  • Conservatives losing coastal support

Nuclear Nottinghamshire. This week scientists working on nuclear fusion in the USA announced that they had achieved ‘ignition’, generating excess energy for the first time. The reaction generated roughly three megajoules, equivalent to boiling nine kettles. So – a slow start, but huge progress nonetheless. The UK’s response might come from an unlikely corner of the country: West Burton. Earlier this year the Government invested £220 million in the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP), a prototype fusion energy plant aiming to pave the way for fusion to put net electricity on the grid.

The eroding “Sea-Wall”. A new report by the Fabian Society released this week found a 19 point drop for Conservatives in coastal areas since the last election. These Leave-backing seats have been reliable for the Tories since 2010, so what’s gone wrong? Echoing our report After the Fall, they find that the Government has a major brand problem. Half of respondents (52 per cent) in coastal town constituencies overall said that the Conservative party does not share their values – compared to 28 per cent who thought the party does and 20 per cent who said ‘don’t know’.

All aboard. A £60 million scheme to introduce bus fare caps launched this week and could finally stop the decade-long decline of bus services. With successful cap-fare pilot schemes seeing a 10% increase in passenger numbers, the England wide £2 fare cap will ease the cost for commuters and aid the recovery of this service.

Going green to stay blue. Onward’s new report, Green Jobs, Red Wall, shows that there is a huge opportunity for green industrial jobs in the UK, particularly in areas of the North and Midlands that are in need of “Levelling Up”. But if we want to secure those green industrial jobs, then we’ll have to move fast. Demand for mature technologies like electric vehicles and offshore wind turbines is expected to level off by the end of this decade. This means that, if factories aren’t in place by 2030, then the UK risks missing out forever. Given that it takes several years to build new factories, the UK has just five years to secure green factories.

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News and media

Adam Hawksbee, Onward’s Interim Director, and Meriden MP Saqib Bhatti wrote for Times Red Box on how green jobs can bolster the levelling up agenda.

Onward’s latest research “Green Jobs, Red Wall” was covered in City A.M, Business Green, POLITICO, and, Northern Agenda.

Upcoming event

The Future of Conservatism: In Conversation with Michael Lind.

Britain coming apart, not coming together, is one of the greatest challenges we face as a nation. Across the pond, centrifugal forces are also tearing American democracy apart and polarising politics. What answer does conservatism have to these challenges? What shared institutions and collective identities can help to build a more resilient economy and a stronger society? And what are some of the practical steps the centre-right should take in power in order to move towards a renewed form of conservatism?

This event will see Nick Timothy, former Downing Street Chief of Staff, discuss the future of conservatism with Michael Lind, influential American columnist and writer. Sign up here.

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