In the media this week:

Director Will Tanner wrote a column for the i on Boris Johnson’s resignation and how his successor should be selected. He also spoke to the Wall Street Journal, The Big Issue and several broadcasters about the leadership.

Chris Skidmore MP referenced Onward’s recent research on the popularity of net zero politics with voters in The Times.

Our research note Powering the Future has been covered in sector-specific media outlets like Current News, Energy Live News, and Utility Week

Our report Give Back Control continued to receive media coverage. Centre for London and MyLondon News bolstered the report’s recommendations that new powers are handed to mayors, in pieces on transport routes and funding.

Team activity

On Wednesday 13 July Will Tanner will speak alongside Rachel Wolf and David Frost at a Centre for Policy Studies’ event entitled ‘What Now for the Tories?’ discussing the future of the Conservative Party.

Upcoming event

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Linked Image

To mark the launch of National Grid ESO’s Future Energy Scenarios 2022, Onward is hosting a discussion on UK energy security. We ask how the Government can enable an energy system that is secure, clean, affordable and fair in the context of Net Zero commitments.

This event will also be livestreamed via the National Grid ESO website here.

If you would like to attend this event or find out more, head to our website here.

Director’s Note

A party political leadership election is the definition of an echo chamber.

So it is not surprising that the Conservative Party has begun this contest talking to itself about issues that matter more to MPs than voters.

Will Tanner

But it is a mistake. The challenges facing the UK are deeper – and require a more considered response.

In the short term, we face an inflationary shock and possible recession. Beyond that, we are now ten years into a new normal of sluggish productivity, widening regional imbalances and weak business investment. On the horizon, the Union is in peril, demographic pressures threaten to overwhelm the social security system, and we need to decarbonise the entire economy. 

Here are some questions from which it should be possible to determine who, from the Grand National list of runners and riders, has the seriousness to do the top job:

  1. Are your tax plans fully costed and funded without additional borrowing (which as any Conservative knows is merely taxation deferred)? 
  2. How do you plan to raise the UK’s lagging productivity (with particular focus on boosting the UK’s low rates of business investment in skills and R&D and foreign direct investment)?
  3. If you plan to abolish the Health and Social Care Levy, how will you fund the NHS’ efforts to cut waiting lists before the next election? If you want to keep it, how will you ensure the NHS delivers lower waiting lists before 2024?
  4. What is your plan to level up jobs and opportunity in places like Stoke, Walsall, Doncaster or Barnstaple (as is necessary to retain the 2019 coalition)?
  5. How will you deliver 300,000 new homes every year while winning back seats like Chesham and Amersham and North Shropshire?
  6. What does the next wave of school reform look like? 
  7. Given that the 20,000 extra police officers have not arrested rising crime levels, what are your plans to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour?
  8. Labour had a 31 point lead among young people at the last election so what are you going to do to win them over? And what about young women (only 20% of women under 35 years old voted Tory last time)?

There are other questions. But those would be a good start. Because, on current trends, the Conservatives are due to go into the next election with real wages falling, growth slowing, crime creeping up, NHS waiting lists at record levels and the promise of Brexit and the 2019 election undelivered. Whoever comes next has less than two years to turn things around. 

Will Tanner is Director of Onward

Policy Bites

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy launched the landmark Energy Security Bill, with 26 measures to propel the UK’s transition to a cleaner, affordable and home grown energy system, aiming to boost Britain’s energy security. Link

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that Birmingham, Crewe, Derby, Doncaster, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and York will compete to be crowned the home of Britain’s railways. Link

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced the UK’s first ever Critical Mineral Intelligence Centre to provide policy-makers with data on supply, demand and market dynamics of critical minerals essential to manufacturing electric vehicle batteries and wind turbines. Link

Quick Links

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Wealth breeds complacency. The UK economy is being hampered at every turn.
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Britain’s sclerotic state
Wealth breeds complacency. The UK economy is being hampered at every turn.
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A gulf divides the Tory leadership from the country | Financial Times
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A gulf divides the Tory leadership from the country | Financial Times
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