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What’s Onward This Week

After a usually warm reception from colleagues in the Chamber, fiscal events can unravel quickly. Journalists and analysts pour over the statements, revealing the holes in Osborne’s “omnishambles” or Brown’s misstep on the 10p tax rate. The response to Jeremy Hunt’s  statement is more nuanced, and exposes the upcoming electoral battleground.

Hunt’s tax cuts for businesses and workers use up headroom that would otherwise go to departments hit by inflation. Labour have been quick to criticise, but will likely match the tax commitments that make the post-2024 numbers hard to add up. The Chancellor will be hoping his gamble pays off, improving growth and investment by unleashing the supply side of the economy. If it doesn’t, pressures on public services could be a vulnerable flank, regardless of the extra pounds voters might have in their pockets.

✍️ Research

The Autumn Statement featured a number of ideas from Onward’s research. 

Communities hosting grid infrastructure will see their electricity bills reduced by up to £1,000 a year for a decade with a fund to pay for local priorities. As recommended in Power to the People, this approach can nearly double local support for energy infrastructure from 43% to 80%.

Full expensing will be made permanent, providing a tax break for companies investing in plants and machinery as we called for in Firing on all Cyclinders and Making a Comeback. This game-changing tax cut is key to reviving British manufacturing and creating high-skilled, well-paid jobs across the country. 

Two more metro mayors and three combined authorities are being established to help drive regeneration and growth. We made the case for more empowered mayors and devolution in our paper Give Back Control.

The British Business Bank will also be used as a vehicle for pension investment into start-ups, especially science and technology firms. In our latest report, Pension Power, we called for the Government to create this new fund to tackle the chronic underinvestment by UK pension schemes, which are failing savers and science.  

📰 Media Mentions

Onward Director Sebastian Payne writes in the i about the importance of accelerating the delivery of infrastructure projects.

He also spoke to Times Radio this week about the Autumn Statement. 

Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee warns about Labour’s borrowing plans in City AM.  

Onward’s Head of Politics and Polling James Blagden explains why a lurch to the right isn’t inevitable if the Conservatives suffer a heavy defeat in Politics Home

Future of Conservatism Director Gavin Rice explains why legal immigration is still rising post-Brexit in the Daily Telegraph

He also spoke to TalkTV about why the UK is struggling to bring numbers down.

Onward Policy Fellow Zachary Spiro wrote in CapX about why British pensions aren’t working for savers or start-ups and how we can boost investment.

🌐 Onward Online

Onward’s Director Sebastian Payne reacts to the Autumn Statement:

How will community benefits deliver a net zero grid? Onward’s Head of Energy and Environment Ned Hammond explains.

Does the Autumn Statement help British innovators? Onward’s Head of Science and Technology Allan Nixon shares his analysis.

🗓️Upcoming events

We’re delighted to share the bumper set of events coming up in the run up to Christmas: 

Giving Back Better 1 - Onward Newsletter 24/11/2023

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 7th July
Time: 10:00 – 11:00
Location: Central Westminster

To sign up for this event, please click here.

Maximum Impact 1 - Onward Newsletter 24/11/2023

We are delighted to invite you to our latest panel event in collaboration with RELX titled Maximum Impact: Defining how success is measured in making the UK a Science and Technology Superpower.

Science and technology underpin the Government’s plans to deliver growth, prosperity and opportunity across the country. This has led the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology to start translating these commitments into action and realizing the potential of the UK science and research base.

Strategies have been published which map out the steps as to how the UK becomes a science superpower by 2030. One of the first markers of success will be defining the five “critical technologies”. Getting ahead in these areas of comparative advantage requires sustained focus, investment and commitment in the innovation ecosystem. But how will success be measured? What will define the UK as a true science superpower? And how will the UK advance its place on the global research leaderboards?

This panel event , led by the new science minister Andrew Griffith, will bring together leading experts and commentators to discuss the metrics by which success will be measured and how they are defined.

The discussion will be followed by a short Q&A.

We hope you are able to join us.

Date: Tuesday 12th December
Time: 10:30- 11:30
Location: Central Westminster, TBC

To sign up for this event, please click here.

FOC 1 - Onward Newsletter 24/11/2023

The Prime Minister has said his government will take long-term decisions in the national interest, tackling a failed “thirty year consensus”. Onward’s first report in its Future of Conservatism series, The Case for Conservatism, echoes this theme.

Conservative policy thinking must change to prioritise the flourishing of the whole national community rather than individuals or classes. The public’s desire for strong borders, law and order and greater security must go hand in hand with accepting the need for a new and better economic model.

As the rest of the world pulls back from ultra-globalisation in the race for stronger national security and greater domestic fairness, Britain risks being left behind. A more resilient economy goes hand-in-hand with a better deal for workers who have not benefited enough from the status quo. We argue that a robust vision for more widely shared prosperity with a greater commitment to the common good is not a departure from conservatism, but fundamental to it.

This panel event brings together some of conservatism’s leading thinkers to share their views on the future of the centre-right and what should be their focus moving forward.

Drinks will be available from 17:30 before this event begins at 18:00.

The discussion will be followed by a short Q&A.

Date: Tuesday 12th December
Time: 18:00 – 19:15
Location: Central Westminster

To sign up for this event, please click here.

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