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What’s Onward This Week

Another turbulent week in British politics, as Rishi Sunak fights back against critics of his emergency legislation to make the Rwanda scheme work. Getting flights off the ground has become a totemic sign of whether the Government is delivering on migration, despite real successes in reducing the number of small boats and illegal Albanian economic migrants.

There’s no denying the importance of reducing illegal and legal immigration to voters. It’s been a theme of every election since 2010, with limited success in controlling numbers. Decisive action now will show that the Conservatives are serious about lowering immigration. Sunak needs to prove his plan will work and ease the public’s frustrations.

But critics must also be careful about furthering electorally damaging divides, which could cement the fate they want to avoid.


✍️ Research

Durham will soon be Britain’s largest semiconductor manufacturer thanks to £182 million of venture capital in Pragmatic. Heralded by the company’s chief executive as “proof” that a “UK company with UK talent with UK investors” can expand manufacturing and create well-paid jobs in the North East. But sadly, this too often isn’t the case, especially for start-ups.

Onward’s latest paper, Pension Power, reveals that science and technology start-ups face a £6 billion funding gap. Retirement pots contribute only 10% of UK venture capital but account for 72% in the USA. Risk-averse British pension funds are depriving fledgling firms of the capital to grow, forcing some to close, list on foreign stock exchanges, or move abroad.

Unleashing Britain’s pensions is critical to improving returns for savers, which are a third lower than the top funds in the USA, Canada and Australia, and meeting the UK’s science superpower ambitions. If we get it right, we could see many more home-grown firms with domestic talent expanding thanks to UK investment.


📰 Media Mentions

Onward Director Sebastian Payne writes in the i on the role universities have played in allowing antisemitism to thrive.

He also spoke to TalkTV about the Home Secretary’s plan to reduce legal migration. 

Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee writes in City AM about how Christmas strengthens our social fabric.


🌐 Onward Online

Do voters care about reducing legal immigration? Yes! Onward Director Sebastian Payne explains.

Congratulations to Onward’s Jenevieve Treadwell on winning MHP group’s think tanker to watch.


🗓️ 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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