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This was a Budget to bring back trust – reassuring and optimistic, providing support now and fostering growth in the future. It balanced fiscal security with creating the conditions for prosperity. It is a solid start, but there is still an electoral and delivery mountain to climb.

Jeremy Hunt has made a necessary bold move on free childcare to the age of three – I’m delighted he’s heeded Onward’s calls to provide assistance for children but also parents eager to get back to work. There’s still much more to do on childcare – not least simplifying the messy system with new childcare credits system.

Ramping up corporation tax was always a difficult pill for Conservatives to swallow, but the Budget has rightly focused on other areas where businesses need help – especially in the full expensing tax break for infrastructure. This has the potential to be huge for investment. Businesses know that life does not end at the company gate and the other elements of the Budget to boost the country’s social fabric are welcome – including extending the energy price guarantee and freezing fuel duty.

The big future drop in inflation and skimming away from a recession is testament to sound fiscal management in very tricky circumstances. The Chancellor made the right call to avoid the temptation of big tax cuts today, but the overall burden remains an issue to be revisited in the future.

Today’s Budget was about confidence and certainty: for markets, businesses and voters who abandoned the centre right. The foundations are now well laid, but there is so much reform still to be tackled. Britain needs to be more prosperous than it is today.

Sebastian Payne, Director of Onward.

News and Media 

The keynote speech on childcare given by Shadow Education Secretary, Bridget Phillipson MP, at Onward received coverage by Sky News, The BBC, The Guardian, The New Statesman, The Mirror, The Independent, iNewsBloomberg, The Express and Star, Politico, City AM, FE News, and Labour List.

Our childcare report First Steps was cited by BBC News and iNews. Siobhan Baillie MP also cited the report on BBC Radio 4 Today.

Director Sebastian Payne joined BBC Radio 4 Analysis, Week in Westminster, and Iain Dale’s Cross Questions.

Dame Caroline Spelman, Chair of Onward’s Getting to Zero Steering Group was appointed to the board of Natural England.

Onward Researcher Phoebe Bunt wrote for Politics Home on International Women’s Day, setting out how the Government can utilise legislation to address violence against women and girls in the UK.

In the run-up to the 2023 budget statement, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove MP’s remarks at Onward’s Future of Conservatism event were cited in The Times.

The Times also cited polling from After the Fall in an article on the electoral effects of the migrant plan.

Following the budget statement, Sebastian Payne was quoted in Politico and Conservative Home, and Adam Hawksbee appeared on Channel 4 News and was quoted in The Northern Agenda newsletter.

Upcoming events

Onward After Hours with Dehenna Davison MP

On Tuesday 18th April 2023, we will host a private drinks reception with Dehenna Davison MP.

Onward After Hours is our event series for under 35s, connecting the next generation of centre-right political thinkers. These events bring together journalists, special advisors, parliamentary staffers and more, to inspire fresh thinking and build connections
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Event Graphics 2023 3 - Onward Budget Debrief

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