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What’s Onward This Week

Net zero comes with costs and trade-offs as well as opportunities. Achieving it is more complex than big headline-grabbing targets suggest. And the policies to get there need to be fair and affordable. Rishi Sunak was right about all these things this week and also right to warn that if you get the balance wrong, you risk undermining public support.

Onward’s research has shown consistently that the public – including Conservative voters – supports net zero by 2050. But they want more help to go green – insulating their homes, buying electric vehicles, and moving to renewable energy. You’ll hear more from us next week on why the PM’s new approach must be paired with bold policies.

✍️ Research

England’s coastal communities are in crisis. They struggle with poverty, sickness, high crime and poorer quality housing. Their decline isn’t new but our new report, Troubled Waters, exposes just how far adrift the shore has drifted from the rest of the country.

Our research shows average incomes are £4,600 lower on the South East’s coast than the rest of the region. Crime rates are 151% higher along coastal North Devon as tourists overwhelm local police forces. Early, preventable deaths are 88% more likely in Blackpool but fall below the national average after a 30-minute drive inland. A third of homes were built pre-1945 along the East of England’s shore, leaving twice as many poorly insulated than inland.  

These places are also proven political bellwethers, having disproportionately swung behind every winning party for four decades. Returning the pride and purpose coastal communities once had offers a huge political win for whoever achieves it. 

Onward’s report recommends a US-style coastal economic transformation programme of up to £500 million, a coastal surge fund to boost policing in tourist hotspots, a wave of coastal neighbourhoods, and a student loan forgiveness scheme to attract and retain healthcare workers. 

📰 Media Mentions

The Guardian, The Sun, Yorkshire Post, and the i covered our latest report, Troubled Waters

In The Times’ Thunderer, Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee wrote that seaside towns could hold the answer to the housing crisis, learning from Barry in South Wales of Gavin and Stacey fame. 

Adam spoke to Times Radio about why England needs a wave of new coastal neighbourhoods. 

He also talked to The World Tonight on Radio 4 and Times Radio about the Prime Minister’s net zero speech.

In Politics Home, Senior Researcher Jenevieve Treadwell wrote about how the political party that created a dedicated offering for these communities at the next election could secure victory.

🌐 Onward Online

Why is England’s coast so poor? Onward’s Jenevieve Treadwell explains.

Why does Barry in South Wales have England’s fastest-rising house prices? Listen to Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee’s interview to find out.

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