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What’s Onward This Week

Next week will see another parliamentary battle as the Safety of Rwanda Bill returns to the House of Commons. The Tory right hopes to toughen up the legislation, while One Nation Conservatives want to ensure it abides by international law, each side tabling opposing amendments. But bitter splits won’t satisfy voters’ frustration at illegal channel crossings, only stopping the boats will suffice.

But voters’ exasperation doesn’t stop at illegal entrants. Record lawful migration levels also jarred heavily with repeated requests for these numbers to fall. Regardless of whether Rishi Sunak can get flights off the ground, immigration will play a significant part in the next election, whether parties want to talk about it or not.

✍️ Research

Former Defence Secretary Ben Wallace warned in an interview this week that Europe’s military innovation could “disappear across the Atlantic” unless firms can find more funding. But the issue is broader, with British innovators needing help to secure investment to develop critical technologies, like artificial intelligence, quantum or semiconductors. 

If Britain will deliver on its science superpower ambitions, it must end chronic underinvestment in its pension industry. Onward’s recent paper, Pension Power, found that Britain’s pension pots are responsible for only 10% of venture capital investment compared to 72% in the UK. This leaves fledgeling technology start-ups cash-strapped, with a £6 billion funding shortfall. To grow, they have little choice but to move abroad, listing on foreign stock exchanges or giving up. 

While Wallace calls for a £1 billion technology fund specifically focusing on defence, Onward’s proposals for pension reform could unleash twenty times as much venture capital investment from pension pots while boosting returns for savers. It’s one of the biggest levers in Britain’s economic and security arsenal to take the lead.

📰 Media Mentions

Onward Director Sebastian Payne wrote in The Times about why Britain desperately needs a new deal for parents. He also wrote in the i about why Chris Skidmore is deeply wrong about the UK’s progress on net zero.

Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee is quoted on childcare availability in Politics Home

Policy Fellow Ted Christie-Miller explained why Trump wouldn’t be able to row back green investment unleashed by Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act in City AM.

The Political Quarterly reviews the intellectual case for the future of conservatism laid out in Onward’s Case for Conservatism paper.

The Independent mentioned Onward’s Troubled Waters report, which showed how Britain’s coastal communities are political bellwethers.

🌐 Onward Online

How can we encourage more farmers to sign up to nature-friendly farm subsidies? Head of Energy and the Environment Ned Hammond explains.

🗓️ Upcoming Events

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We are delighted to invite you to our latest panel event to celebrate the launch of Onward’s new project A New Deal for Parents.

Both the housing and cost of living crises fall hardest on young families, while prospective parents struggle to access the fertility assistance they need. Onward research has already analysed the UK’s broken childcare system, making clear both the financial pressures it piles on parents and the barriers it erects in the path of those keen to start a family.

The New Deal for Parents project aims to set out a policy programme to make it easier to start and support a family. The Project looks to influence Government policy and develop a manifesto to help put families at the centre of politics.

This panel will bring together leading members of parliament and Onward’s researchers to discuss the nature of the problem facing young families today, how we got here, and what needs to change to make it easier to be a parent in the UK.

We hope you are able to join us.

Date: Monday 15th January

Time: 19:00- 20:00

Location: Parliament

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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The UK’s productivity challenge is damaging our international competitiveness as well as domestic living standards.  The conversation around improving productivity has been dominated by our tradeable and exporting sectors. Less attention has been given to understanding how social enterprise business models can be a vehicle for delivering economic growth.

Across the world, firms are discovering ways to maximise both social and economic value by transforming their supply chains, unlocking talent in local areas, and engaging with communities as citizens and not just consumers. But how can policymakers differentiate ESG rhetoric from reality? And what role can the government play in supporting these emerging business models and a new form of social capitalism?

This panel led by Kevin Hollinrake, Minister for Enterprise, Markets and Small Businesses, will bring together leading experts to discuss the nature of the problem facing the UK and firms today and what needs to change to ensure social mission goals are achieved. 

We hope you are able to join us.

Date: Tuesday 30th January

Time: 14:30- 15:30

Location: Central Westminster

To sign up for this event, please click here.

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We are delighted to invite you to our latest panel event Paid Work that Pays Back: The UK Year of Service.

Britain’s youth face pressing challenges. They struggle to develop the practical skills to succeed in their professional lives, suffer from poor mental health and feel distant from their communities. But young people are also crying out for opportunities to make a difference and shape their communities.

Across the world, countries have long identified the potential in harnessing this energy into action. In the United States, since 1994, more than a million Americans have signed up for Americorps, an initiative designed to engage US citizens in service through a variety of stipended volunteer work programs in many sectors. Inspired by such schemes abroad, the UK Year of Service pilot programme was set up and it has already been a transformational initiative for 300 young Britons, providing a blueprint for an ambitious project here in the UK.

This panel event, led by Minister for Employment Jo Churchill, will discuss the impact that the UK Year of Service could have on young people who seek to build their skills and serve their communities.

We hope you are able to join us.

Date: Thursday 1st February

Time: 10:30- 11:30

Location: Central Westminster

To sign up for this event, please click here.

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