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What’s Onward This Week

Freeports, Levelling Up Fund, Shared Prosperity Fund – the myriad of government monies to stimulate local growth across the land are well discussed. But there’s one piece of fiscal devolution that is less known and scrutinised: Growth Deals, which cover every part of Scotland.

With the first generation of deals coming to an end in the coming years, the national governments in Westminster and Holyrood need to consider what comes next. The second iteration of Scotland’s Growth Deals should be more ambitious, they should merge together existing funds – but they also need better accountability. 

If millions of pounds of taxpayers money is going to be devolved closer to the people of Scotland, there is a case for directly-elected ‘provosts’ to oversee the funds and ensure there is due accountability. England’s metro mayors show the way: what is good for Manchester and Birmingham, is good for Edinburgh and Glasgow.

✍️ Research

Growth Deals are an unexamined and underappreciated Scottish success story, delivering more money and power to the people of Scotland. With the first generation of Growth Deals due to conclude in 2026, the time is apt to seize on the lessons so far and consider how best to deliver Growth Deals 2.0. And this is what our new paper, Beyond Holyrood by Iain Stewart MP, aims to do. 

Boosting efficiency and local capacity should be the guiding principles of Growth Deals 2.0.Launching a cross-party commission dedicated to forming a better consensus on what comes next is the only way that all parts of Scotland can thrive with stronger economies and better local powers. You can read the full paper here.

📰 Media Mentions

Beyond Holyrood was featured in The Scotsman (twice) and Holyrood Magazine (twice). 

Missing Millennials was featured in the The Washington Post, Financial Times and The Guardian

Hydrogen: Who Pays? was mentioned in Energy Live News and Utility Week, as the Government considers scrapping the hydrogen levy. Jack Richardson, Head of Getting to Zero, wrote for The Northern Agenda on the need for a joined-up approach on energy and industrial strategy. Jack was also quoted in Bloomberg on integrating the UK into innovative solar technology tunnels.

Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee, in his weekly City A.M. column, writes about the worrying levels of eco-anxiety in the UK.

Onward’s ‘Workington man’ was mentioned in Labour List.

🌐 Onward Online

Director Sebastian Payne, spoke for UK in a Changing Europe on the impact of Brexit at the next election, and appeared on Times Radio.

Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee spoke on TechUK’s panel on the digital economy, with a focus on digital adoption and digital skills.

Jack Richardson highlighted the impact of Hydrogen: Who Pays? on the Energy Bill Committee’s latest discussion below.

🗓️ Upcoming Events

Poised for take off: Realising the potential of drone technology to boost growth

By 2030 there could be more than 920,000 commercial drones flying over the UK. This new technology could enhance public transport safety, search and rescue, utilities inspections and stockpile auditing with the potential to contribute over £40 billion and around 650,000 jobs to the national economy. Sir Patrick Vallance’s review on pro-innovation regulation for digital technologies recommended an ambitious set of proposals around drones, all of which were accepted by the Government.

Despite this the UK is at risk of falling behind leading nations in the drone race, like Japan and Switzerland. Our regulatory regime is too rigid, investment levels too low, and procurement approach too timid. Immediate action by the Government is needed to maximise the market potential of the drone economy.

This event will consider how to empower and accelerate the use of drones across the public and private sectors, to ensure the UK can lead the world in drone innovation and implementation.

Sign up here.

drone event 2 - Onward Newsletter - 9/06/2023

Stepping up to scale up: How can the UK better support innovative firms to grow?

Britain leads Europe in tech investment. In 2022 UK tech start-ups and scale-ups raised £24 billion, compared with France’s £11.8 billion, and Germany’s £9.1 billion. But we fail to attract as much investment nationally as New York or California, let alone the whole of the United States.

While London boasts a healthy venture capital (VC) environment for early stage companies, investments for companies in the later stages of scaling up are not so forthcoming. What is it about the UK business environment that makes it difficult for companies to successfully scale up into large, successful businesses? And why is it that the UK’s most promising companies are so often acquired by foreign firms or forced to move abroad in search of more capital and larger markets?
This event will discuss the issues faced by companies trying to scale up, and potential remedies that will allow the UK to achieve its aim of becoming an innovation nation.

Sign up here.

tech event 2 - Onward Newsletter - 9/06/2023

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