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What’s Onward This Week

The Conservative Party is facing yet another by-election, the fifth following a damning report into the conduct of Chris Pincher, the former deputy chief whip who played an instrumental role in the downfall of Boris Johnson. He is likely to be suspended from parliament. 

These by-elections will no doubt be tricky for the party, as voters will punish those responsible for prompting the vote. But, as with the suspension of the SNP’s Margaret Ferrier, they are a reminder that parliament’s independent complaints and recall system does work. But it still needs to be strengthened to ensure it secured total anonymity without undue influence from those wishing to cover up bad behaviour.

✍️ Research

Last week, during a keynote address for Onward, the Education Secretary, Rt Hon Gillian Keegan MP, said that she makes no apology for her love of apprenticeships and the value that they bring to individuals, employers and the nation. 

In Course Correction, we found that apprenticeships do matter. They matter for young people, who want to develop skills and secure good jobs without attending university or moving away. They matter for the nation, building the supply of technical workers in productive, R&D intensive sectors. And they matter for the kinds of communities that the Government is trying to level up. 

The Government has taken steps to tackle the marketing challenge, expanding UCAS to include apprenticeships. But more needs to be done if we want to turbocharge apprenticeships, including reformed investment, enlarged powers for Mayors and incentivising businesses to take on new apprentices.

You can read more from Course Correction here

📰 Media Mentions

Deputy Director, Adam Hawksbee, wrote for City AM on how a revival of financial districts, including increased residential living, is needed. 

Jack Richardson, Head of Energy and Climate, was quoted in an Express article on older workers filling the skills gap opened up by low-carbon sectors. 

Beyond School was featured in Schools Week’s article on school clubs increasing attendance and wellbeing.

🌐 Onward Online

Adam Hawksbee put together a thread on the simplification of local government funding. 

You can find the highlights from our event with BAE Systems in our live Tweet thread. 

Head of Science and Tech, Allan Nixon, shared a Tweet on building strategic advantage. 

Some of the Onward team could be found in the basement of Walker’s of Whitehall quizzing away with other think tanks earlier this week. 

🗓️ Upcoming Events

The Only Way is Up? Fixing UK immigration policy

This year, net migration reached 606,000 – the highest figure on record, and nearly double the pre-Brexit average. Despite historic pledges to bring immigration down to the tens of thousands, a vote to take back control of the border and a manifesto commitment that numbers would fall, the points-based system has resulted in record increases. Two-thirds of voters say net migration is too high.

Yet the UK is suffering from a labour shortage and inflation crisis; a former Chancellor has recommended increasing migration to keep wages and interest rates down, while business leaders say they need access to more workers. In this third Future of Conservatism event, Project Director Gavin Rice will chair an expert panel discussing what UK immigration policy should look like in the 2020s. 

Sign up here.

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Keynote Address from the Minister for Pensions

The Chancellor of the Exchequer will be delivering his much anticipated Mansion House Speech on 10th July. Laura Trott MP will be making remarks in response on 11th July, highlighting the ways that the pensions industry can play a role in delivering the plan set out in the Chancellor’s speech.

The speech will be followed by questions from the audience, chaired by Sebastian Payne. This event will be an opportunity for industry professionals to discuss the content of the Mansion House speech directly with the Minister for Pensions.

Sign up here.

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The Home Front: Harnessing our manufacturing and engineering capacity to level up communities

Turbulent events around the world have made clear the need to maintain a sovereign defence capability. At the same time, controversy around the Newport Wafer Fab site has emphasised the importance of resilient domestic manufacturing and engineering industries. Conversations in Westminster are coalescing around these twin challenges – boosting investment in our armed forces and protecting strategically important supply chains.

This renewed focus can yield benefits at home and abroad. Communities across the Midlands and the North host parts of Britain’s manufacturing sectors that generate good jobs and boost investment. Supporting these clusters means leveraging public procurement, investing in skills and employment pathways, and promoting trade and exports to new markets. There is a potential for a national security and economic security win-win – but it won’t occur by accident.

This event will consider what steps the Government needs to take to boost domestic engineering and manufacturing clusters and support levelling up. We will examine what has worked historically, and what hasn’t, in harnessing the potential of engineering and manufacturing industries to secure Britain’s place on the global stage.

Sign up here

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🐥 Tweet of the week

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