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What’s Onward This Week

Immigration has dominated Westminster again this week, as Rishi Sunak’s legislation to get the Rwanda scheme off the ground passed a key Commons vote. It is likely to receive a long and bumpy ride in the House of Lords, but the Prime Minister is right to insist that illegal migration must be tackled, urgently.

The Government should not forget that the record high numbers of legal migration is just as pressing of a concern as illegal migration. According to Onward’s recent polling, nine out of ten constituencies want the Government to assert more control and reduction of our borders. Tackling these numbers is crucial for any revival in the Conservatives’ electoral standing.

✍️ Research

Onward’s latest report Reality Check has shown that public perceptions of immigration levels are wildly out of kilter with reality. When asked to estimate how many migrants entered the UK last year, the average number put forward was only 70,000 – almost ten times less than the actual level of net migration.  

Immigration continues to matter across  the 2019 Tory coalition. Reality Check found that regardless of voting intention at the upcoming general election, this group was more likely than the average British citizen to think that immigration is a top issue. Of this coalition, those undecided about their vote are the group to look out for. They are more hawkish on migration numbers, more sceptical of the cultural impacts of immigration, and increasingly concerned about the pressure that immigration is placing on key services.  

But immigration isn’t just be a priority for the Tories. 72% of Labour voters felt that current levels of immigration were too high. And even for an under-35, Labour voter with a university degree and living in London, 47% wanted lower immigration, compared to just 40% that wanted more. 

📰 Media Mentions

Onward Director Sebastian Payne writes in the i that the Government must focus on cutting both legal and illegal migration.

Co-founder of Onward Neil O’Brien MP makes the case for Onward’s latest research project ‘ A New Deal for Parents’  in his Substack article.

Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee argues that Britain needs politicians who are honest about our fiscal reality in CityAM.

In Conservative Home, Jim Blagden, Head of Politics and Polling, outlines why cutting immigration is crucial to reviving the Conservatives’ electoral chances.

Chair of the Future of Conservatism Gavin Rice explains the necessity of MPs backing the Rwanda Bill in Politics Home. 

🌐 Onward Online

What was discussed at Onward’s New Deal for Parents launch this event? Head of Comms Cameron Smith highlights the key points.

Head of Science and Technology Allan Nixon explains why Secretary of State for Science Michelle Donelan is right to prioritise scale-ups.   

🗓️ Upcoming Events

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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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