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What’s Onward This Week

Labour peers have blocked the Government’s last-minute effort to remove pollution rules blocking up to 100,000 homes across England. The EU-inherited nutrient neutrality restrictions will hold back development in more than 60 local authorities unless costly mitigations are made to protect local rivers.

The move signals that the scale of the housing crisis still isn’t hitting home in Parliament – and that Labour aren’t necessarily the YIMBYs they were beginning to paint themselves as. It needn’t be a choice between protecting the environment and building more homes. There will be an electoral reward for the political party which champions a way through the false impasse.

✍️ Research

The triple lock was back in the headlines this week as new average earning figures showed the state pension is likely to rise by 8.5% next April. The policy increasingly looks unsustainable and could cost the Exchequer up to £45 billion more a year by 2050, on top of inflation. As tax rises and spending cuts land on working-age people to balance the books, it also risks exacerbating the UK’s growing intergenerational inequalities.

Onward’s Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee argued in the media that continuing the policy was unfair to highly-taxed young people priced out of the housing market. Policy Fellow Tim Pitt also argued in his recent Onward report, The Road to Credibility, that the Government must ground its economic policies in reality and be open with the public about the challenges. The future of the pensions triple lock is one issue where we need an honest and realistic conversation.

📰 Media Mentions

Onward Director Sebastian Payne wrote for the i on the two missteps the usually cautious Keir Starmer made on housing and immigration this week. 

On the pensions triple lock, Onward’s Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee talked to Andrew Marr on LBC, Evan Davis on Radio 4 PM, the Guardian and the i.

In City AM, Adam also wrote about Birmingham’s challenges after the city council effectively declared bankruptcy.

Our report, The Social Mobility Penalty, which called for council funding allocations to consider areas with low social mobility, not just high deprivation, was mentioned by The MJ.

🌐 Onward Online

Is asking struggling working-age taxpayers to pay for ever-higher state pensions sustainable? Onward’s Adam Hawksbee talks to Radio 4 PM about the triple lock and challenges facing young people.

Onward Senior Researcher Jenevieve Treadwell hints at Onward’s next report as Lord Heseltine looks back at Liverpool’s regeneration.

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