New research: On Monday we published our research report,Taking the Temperature that uses polling conducted before and after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, revealing popular support for net zero policies and the importance of messaging.

Elsewhere in the media: Director Will Tanner’s response to plans to scrap Section 106 was quoted in The Telegraph in an article about the Conservative plans to tackle the ongoing housing crisis

On the 4th of May, Director Will Tanner will be speaking at the Local Trust Conference ‘Levelling up communities: What’s the evidence?’ alongside other speakers as listed on last week’s London Influence. For more information about the event and how to sign up, head here.

Upcoming event

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On 3rd May, we will be hosting our event ‘When innovation systems work,’ where we will be discussing what the UK’s response to the pandemic can teach us about wider science and technology policy. On the panel for this event are the Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, George Freeman MP, Chair of Genomics England, Baroness Blackwood, COO of The Pandemic Institute, Dr Amanda Lamb, and VP of International Markets and Pandemic Response, Dr Lora Meldrum.

Head to our website here for more information about the event and registration.

We are hiring!

We are looking for an experienced and driven individual to join our leadership team as Chief Operating Officer. This is a senior hire, reporting directly to the Director and the Trustees. The role is responsible for executing Onward’s long-term financial strategy, managing high-level fundraising and corporate partnerships, and overseeing events, Onward’s Business Club and the Party Conference programme. 


Head to our website here for more details on the job description, eligibility requirements, and how to apply.

Onward Note

It is barely two years since Parliament unanimously introduced the world’s first legal commitment to deliver net zero. Today, some figures want to overturn that pledge.

They argue that Net Zero is pushing up costs on households and that public support for environmentalism is soft. These claims are both bogus.

James-Blagden-Onward

Previous Onward research has shown how renewables investment over the last decade has cut consumer bills. And yesterday we published research showing how Net Zero scepticism is out of touch with public opinion.

Net Zero is so popular that ditching it could cost the Conservatives 1.3 million votes at the next election. 

After the last vote, the Prime Minister acknowledged that many “lent” their support to the Conservatives for the first time. These voters must be kept on-side if the Government wants to hold onto its majority. But if the party ran with a promise to remove the Net Zero target, only 36% of these first-time Conservatives say they would vote Tory again. A u-turn on the Net Zero promise would be a serious electoral misjudgement.

Any assumption that the Conservatives’ working class voters are particularly sceptical about Net Zero is unfounded. Working-class Tories are actually more supportive of investing in renewables than affluent middle-class Tories. They are also more optimistic that the UK can lead the world in the science and technology needed to reach Net Zero.

Governments are rarely rewarded for breaking their promises and the Conservatives stood at the last election on a Net Zero platform, as did every other mainstream party. The public see ditching Net Zero as something typical of a politician – changing their mind and buckling under pressure.

Energy security is high on the agenda and we find that the most popular solution is investing in renewables like offshore wind and solar, supported by 68% of people.

By two-to-one, the public think that the conflict in Ukraine means we should move faster rather than slower on Net Zero. And 68% think that the UK should restrict the import of Russian gas even if it makes bills more expensive.

The political case is crystal clear: If Conservatives go back on their promise, they’ll pay the electoral consequences.

A version of this note appeared on CityAM on 25/04/22

James Blagden, Chief Data Analyst and Head of Future Politics

Policy Bites

The Department for Education has approved a new ‘Natural History’ GCSE to be introduced from 2025, that will allow young people to learn about their local ecosystems and engage with climate change related issues as a part of their academic curriculum. Link

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities has announced a ban on ground rent charges on new leases in England and Wales, as a part of a reform package to create a fairer and more affordable housing market. Link

The Government has announced new and revised measures to safeguard consumers from fraud and scam, bestowing enhanced powers to the Competitions and Market Authority to tackle such fraud, including a fine for firms of up to 10% of their global turnover for misleading customers. Link

Quick Links

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Britain’s sclerotic state | The Spectator
Wealth breeds complacency. The UK economy is being hampered at every turn.
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Britain’s sclerotic state | The Spectator
Wealth breeds complacency. The UK economy is being hampered at every turn.
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A gulf divides the Tory leadership from the country | Financial Times
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A gulf divides the Tory leadership from the country | Financial Times
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