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What’s Onward This Week

Buried in the details of Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho’s speech this week is a game-changing idea for British industry: local electricity pricing. Our current system doesn’t incentivise factories to be nearer areas where we are building cheap and abundant renewable energy, like Scotland, Teesside and Humberside. 

As Onward called for in our Green Jobs, Red Wall report, localising electricity prices can substantially cut costs for consumers and industry in places nearest to energy sources. Delivering this transformative change to energy pricing would make the UK a more competitive place to invest in manufacturing and be a shot in the arm for levelling up.


✍️ Research

Onward, Create Streets and Labour Together gathered in Coventry a week ago for Restitch: The Social Fabric Summit with one warning – those in British politics must learn to disagree well or risk US levels of toxic mistrust. That’s what the conference was all about, with 12 events debating how we can restitch politics, repair communities, and regenerate places to strengthen bonds between people. Thank you to our speakers, Tom Tugendhat, Steve Reed, Carlos Moreno, Munira Mirza, Rachel Wolf, Polly Mackenzie and all those who joined us. 

In last week’s budget, the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced that the Long Term Plans for Towns will be expanded, with 20 more places receiving a £20 million endowment to invest over ten years. The initiative that will now drive regeneration in 75 towns across the country has Onward research at its heart, putting our Levelling Up Locally work into practice to tackle antisocial behaviour, revive high streets and restore pride in town centres.


📰 Media Mentions

Onward Director Sebastian Payne wrote in the i about why Tories shouldn’t fret over Lee Anderson’s defection.  

Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee wrote in City AM about how low-level crimes are blighting towns like Eston and in ConservativeHome about why pride in place matters.

Senior Researcher Callum Newton argued in CapX that the Conservatives must double down on levelling up to stay competitive in ex-mining communities. 

The Guardian covered the joint call from Onward, Labour Together and Create Streets for British politics to disagree well, with Adam Hawksbee speaking to Times Radio and Talk TV and Sebastian Payne talking to Times Radio Breakfast

Following the Budget, Sebastian Payne spoke to Radio 4 and wrote for the i about why the Chancellor made the best of a bad economic hand.

Head of Science and Technology Allan Nixon told UKTN’s podcast why Whitehall needs to be rewired to boost innovation.

Head of New Deal for Parents Phoebe Arslanagić-Little debated growth measures on GB News with Michael Portillo.


🌐 Onward Online

Adam Hawksbee sums up the Restitch summit.

Have the public given up on the police? Senior Researcher Callum Newton explains.

Head of the New Deal for Parents Phoebe Arslanagić-Little explains the recent trends in UK fertility data.


🗓️ Upcoming Events

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We are delighted to invite you to our upcoming event Empowering Regions: How can we accelerate regeneration and investment? to mark the launch of the Purposeful Finance Commission’s final report. 

Towns and cities across the UK need additional investment to build new housing and infrastructure, to decarbonise, and to support local growth. And patient capital exists across the UK, including in life insurers as well as pension funds, looking to invest for the long-term, creating significant social value. But nationally we struggle to bring forward enough investable projects, leading to lower growth and worse regional outcomes.

This event, led by Housing Minister Lee Rowley,  will consider the steps required to secure institutional investment for local authorities and combined authorities across the country. Speakers will reflect on the findings from the Purposeful Finance Commission, an independent organisation supported by the Pension Insurance Corporation plc (PIC). The Commission is made up of leading combined authority figures and local government leads who have come together to identify, understand and overcome the barriers that communities across the country are facing in regenerating local areas, and in accessing long-term investment to support this.

Date: Monday 25th March

Time: 2.30pm – 3.30pm 

Venue: Central Westminster Location

Register here.

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We are delighted to invite you to our upcoming panel event R&D for Global Good in collaboration with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Government’s commitment to R&D spending, including raising public support to £20 billion per year by 2024, has the potential to improve lives and reduce inequality. This event will showcase the world-leading R&D happening across the UK, the benefits it provides to local communities and our neighbours around the world. 

This event will bring together an expert panel led by Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, Minister for International Development, to discuss how we can ensure UK R&D continues to improve lives both at home and abroad.

Join us in Manchester at the Science & Industry Museum for an insightful tour alongside a curator to learn more about its exhibitions and aims to inspire the future.  Following the panel, there will be networking drinks to close the day. The exact timings are shown below.

Date: Thursday 11th April 2024

Time: 16.00- 20.00

Location: Science & Industry Museum, Manchester

Register here.

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We are delighted to invite you to our upcoming panel event Circuit breakers: The Reality of Resilience for the UK’s Digital Economy, held in partnership with Vorboss. 

A resilient digital economy is vital to unlocking productivity and growth across the UK. Yet too often the UK’s connectivity falters. When vital networks break down, businesses can lose millions in minutes and critical national infrastructure can be put under threat. 

This panel event, led by Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure Julia Lopez, will explore how the UK can build a more resilient digital economy. It will assess the challenges businesses face, the effectiveness of the current regulatory landscape, and how the Government can help ensure that the UK digital economy is best protected from undue harms.

We hope you are able to join us.

Date: Tuesday 23rd April

Time: 15:00- 16:00

Location: Central Westminster

Register here.


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