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What’s Onward This Week

Too often, we underestimate the lack of state capacity nationally and locally.

In Whitehall, we often don’t have the very best people managing the country. There has been too much focus on what civil servants are paid and not enough on attracting the finest talent.

The same is true at a local level, where councils have struggled to build capacity. But the plight is especially true for councils in towns, some of which are struggling to receive the same levels of funding due to flaws in their central government formulas — as we’ve highlighted in our new report this week.

✍️ Research

Today we launched ‘The Social Mobility Penalty’. Our analysis shows that after taking deprivation into account, areas in the top decile for social mobility receive 50% more in Whitehall grants than those in the bottom decile. 

The current funding arrangements explicitly target deprivation. Mostly, high deprivation and low social mobility align. But there are outliers. Socially immobile rural towns – but which might rank low for deprivation – miss out, whilst deprived inner-city areas tend to benefit. 

Instead, funding for local governments should target social mobility alongside deprivation. We have calculated two alternative funding arrangements. The places that receive the largest allocations under our proposed models are often the most deprived. But it is areas where social mobility and deprivation do not align which benefit the most from a new formula. 

To find out more, you can read the full report here. Oliver Wright at The Times has the write up

📰 Media Mentions

Our Director Sebastian Payne argues in the i that better paid civil servants are the key to revitalise a tired state. His thoughts on committing to net zero to retain Conservative voters was picked up in The New Statesman.

Adam Hawksbee, Deputy Director, spoke to Calum Macdonald on Times Radio ahead of our new report on social mobility, ‘The Social Mobility Penalty’. He also spoke to Michael Portillo on GB News about the importance of investing in rehabilitation programmes. 

Our report Power to the People on community benefits for green infrastructure projects was mentioned in the Express and the i

Our recent report Wired for Success on helping to make the UK a science superpower was covered by The New Statesman

Callum Newton, Senior Researcher in Levelling Up, wrote for Conservative Home on why the Conservatives must embrace the political power of housing for the next election. 

🌐 Onward Online

Deputy Director,Adam Hawksbee, shows why we need to tackle the Social Mobility Penalty 

Anna Dickinson, Senior Researcher, on the challenge of the UK lab space deficit to economic growth.

Jack Richardson, Head of Energy and Climate, emphasises the data behind public support for net zero.

🐥 Tweet of the week

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