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What’s Onward This Week

Just like that, it’s on: Rishi Sunak has called the election. It won’t be business as usual at Onward for a while; when campaigns gear up, the policy machinery gears down. 

Instead, we’ll be working on a new project which we hope to share with you soon. Whether Sunak triumphs by going early or Starmer succeeds in transforming polls into ballots, this election will be seismic. 

How has the electorate changed? What coalitions of voters do both parties need to pull together? And was the post-Brexit realignment real? Onward will be answering these questions, and more. Stay tuned.

✍️ Research

One popular issue that the Conservatives and Labour undoubtedly want to include in their manifestos is apprenticeships. Apprentice numbers have stalled, and businesses want greater control over the apprenticeship levy. Reform is needed, but Onward Policy Fellow Jess Lister warns in her new research note Off Course, that giving businesses greater flexibility over levy funds could backfire and reduce opportunities across England. 

Also this week, Allan Nixon and Anastasia Bektimirova looked at how we can lead on two more frontier technologies: semiconductors and future telecoms. Although Britain only has one real global player in the semiconductor supply chains, there’s still a way we can develop a strategic advantage. While future telecoms is critical, it’s unclear how Britain can lead the field at all, and if it should even be one of the Government’s five priority technologies.

📰 Media Mentions

The Sun covered Onward’s latest paper, Off Course, on the pitfalls in Labour’s Growth and Skills Levy, with Education Secretary Gillian Keegan weighing in

Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee told the i why levelling up needs a hyper-local focus and explored what plastic trees tell us about politics in his latest City A.M. column.

He also wrote for the New Statesman with Shivani Menon about why Britain’s wealthiest must dig deeper for charity, with insights from Onward’s Giving Back Better research.  

Research Professional News reported on Onward’s call for a national institute for engineering biology which was made in last week’s Science Superpower Substack.

🌐 Onward Online

Jess shares some key findings from her research into apprenticeships.

Allan gives some insights on how the UK can better research frontier technologies.

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