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What’s Onward This Week

A year ago, Rishi Sunak made a flying visit to the UN’s climate summit in Egypt while King Charles stayed home after Number 10 said it wasn’t the “right occasion” for him to go. But as the world gathers in Dubai for COP28, the British bench will be complete with Sunak, Lord Cameron and the King attending alongside Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho. 

The net zero reset may have knocked confidence in the Government’s environmental ambitions, but the UK remains a climate leader. Our island has decarbonised faster than any other G7 country, and the world’s four largest offshore wind farms sit off our coast. This summit is Sunak’s chance to reassure investors and global partners. He’ll be hoping Nissan’s new investments, plans for a new national park and promising policy on upgrading the grid show that Britain is still going green. 


✍️ Research

After a year focused on tackling small boats, eye-watering new figures have pushed the debate back onto legal migration. Even for those who support a liberal system, net migration of nearly 1.5 million people over two years gives pause for thought. The public has wanted to reduce numbers for over a decade, and Brexit was supposed to empower the Government to deliver on that long-standing wish. But our new system is more liberal than before, and reform is desperately needed.

Onward’s 2019 paper, Beyond The Net Migration Target, argued for a new approach to reducing immigration beyond the old “tens of thousands” target. It called for the Home Office to create a Sustainable Immigration Plan, with specific pledges to reduce low and medium skilled immigration. Parliament could hold ministers to the plan, and a new Office for Migration Responsibility (styled on the OBR) would independently scrutinise its delivery. Four years on, with net migration soaring, ministers should look again at these proposals.


📰 Media Mentions

Onward Director Sebastian Payne writes in the i on how the Government should respond to a resurgent Reform Party. 

Onward Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee joined Pienaar and Friends on Times Radio.

The New Statesman mentions Onward’s opinion polling on young people’s waning support for democracy.


🌐 Onward Online

Onward’s Jenevieve Treadwell named think tanker to watch under 30 by the MHP Group 👏

What does Rishi Sunak’s nature announcements mean? Onward’s Head of Energy and Environment Ned Hammond explains. 


🗓️ Upcoming Events

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We are delighted to invite you to our latest panel event in collaboration with RELX titled Maximum Impact: Defining how success is measured in making the UK a Science and Technology Superpower.

Science and technology underpin the Government’s plans to deliver growth, prosperity and opportunity across the country. This has led the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology to start translating these commitments into action and realizing the potential of the UK science and research base.

Strategies have been published which map out the steps as to how the UK becomes a science superpower by 2030. One of the first markers of success will be defining the five “critical technologies”. Getting ahead in these areas of comparative advantage requires sustained focus, investment and commitment in the innovation ecosystem. But how will success be measured? What will define the UK as a true science superpower? And how will the UK advance its place on the global research leaderboards?

This panel event, led by the new science minister Andrew Griffith, will bring together leading experts and commentators to discuss the metrics by which success will be measured and how they are defined.

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

We hope you are able to join us.

Date: Tuesday 12th December
Time: 10:30- 11:30
Location: Central Westminster, TBC

To sign up for this event, please click here.

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The Prime Minister has said his government will take long-term decisions in the national interest, tackling a failed “thirty year consensus”. Onward’s first report in its Future of Conservatism series, The Case for Conservatism, echoes this theme.

Conservative policy thinking must change to prioritise the flourishing of the whole national community rather than individuals or classes. The public’s desire for strong borders, law and order and greater security must go hand in hand with accepting the need for a new and better economic model.

As the rest of the world pulls back from ultra-globalisation in the race for stronger national security and greater domestic fairness, Britain risks being left behind. A more resilient economy goes hand-in-hand with a better deal for workers who have not benefited enough from the status quo. We argue that a robust vision for more widely shared prosperity with a greater commitment to the common good is not a departure from conservatism, but fundamental to it.

This panel event brings together some of conservatism’s leading thinkers to share their views on the future of the centre-right and what should be their focus moving forward.

Drinks will be available from 17:30 before this event begins at 18:00.

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

Date: Tuesday 12th December
Time: 18:00 – 19:15
Location: Central Westminster

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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