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What’s Onward This Week

Should the Conservatives cut taxes specifically to help young people? That topic has dominated this week following the publication of our new research into why 25-40 year olds are adverse to the Conservative party, despite having centre right economic instincts underneath the exterior of a more left leaning preference for redistribution.

These are the ‘shy Capitalists’ Onward has identified, but wooing them back will not be straightforward. Bim Afolami, for example, has argued that national insurance should be lower for younger people — as well as reducing the overall burden — while Gaby Hinsliff agrees that they simply pay too much tax already and thinks there needs to be a focus on the generational element. 

The Treasury should engage in this debate now. There are likely to be two fiscal events before the next election: the Autumn Statement later this year and the Budget next spring. When the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is contemplating how to use any fiscal headroom to reduce the tax burden, he should do so with Millennials in mind.

✍️ Research

Earlier this week we published Missing Millennials: Why the Conservatives lost a generation, and how to win them back. Unlike their predecessors, Millennials are not trending rightward as they age and have a particular aversion to the Conservatives. 

And the impact of this change will be felt by the Conservatives. Millennials make up the largest generation in 51% of parliamentary constituencies and outnumber Generation X in two thirds of seats. Without the support of Millennials, the future of the Conservatives looks bleak. 

But there is a chance for the Conservatives. Millennials are ‘shy capitalists’. When asked whether they should keep more of their own money or pay more tax to support redistribution, they opt for lower taxes. And despite negative perceptions of the party, Millennials do like Rishi Sunak. Whether this can trump some of the opinions of the party will depend on messaging and campaign effectiveness. 

To find out more, the full report can be found here. You can also catch up on our launch event, with Bim Afolami MP and Charlotte Ivers, here.

📰 Media Mentions

The findings of Missing Millennials were previewed in The Sunday Times by Tim Shipman. The paper was covered in  The Independent, The TelegraphThe Times (twice), The Guardian, The Evening Standard, The i, Daily Mail, Politico and City AM. It was featured in opinion pieces by The Guardian‘s Heather Stewart, The Guardian’s Gaby Hinsliff, the New Statesman‘s Rachel Cunliffe, and the Spectator‘s Stephen Daisley. Bim Afolami MP wrote for The Times’ Red Box and Sebastian Payne wrote for ConservativeHome

Sebastian Payne discussed the findings of Missing Millenials on LBC, Bloomberg UK Politics and TalkTV. Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee discussed the report on Times Radio and Radio 4. Bim Afolami MP also appeared on LBC and TalkTV

Adam Hawksbee joined Ali Miraj on LBC’s Cross Question to discuss a range of issues, including the Covid inquiry

Hydrogen: Who Pays?, was mentioned in Jo Gideon MP’s article in The Times about how to back the hydrogen industry fairly. 

Adam Hawksbee wrote for ConservativeHome on how schools are key to solving the youth mental health crisis. 

🌐 Onward Online

Senior Researcher, Anna Dickinson, put together a thread on the developments in life sciences that occurred last week. 

Adam Hawksbee picks out some of the most interesting graphs from Missing Millennials

Head of Polling and Politics, James Blagden, points out how the environment is a common concern across generations. 

🗓️ 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

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A Shot in the Arm: Restoring the UK’s capacity to run clinical trials 

The development of COVID-19 vaccines was an unmitigated success. But alongside this success lies an uncomfortable reality – the UK’s attractiveness to large clinical trials is in decline. The number of industry clinical trials initiated in the UK per year fell by 41% between 2017 and 2021. If the UK is to be a ‘science superpower’, it cannot allow its strongest research sectors to fall behind international rivals. A successful pharmaceutical research sector will be transformational to not only patients, but the NHS, the wider population and economy. Despite current national challenges, restoring the UK’s capacity to deliver clinical trials must not be overlooked.

This event will consider, in the wake of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, what are the opportunities for growth offered by restoring UK clinical research? How will this stimulate innovation? How will capacity for research in the NHS be ring-fenced? What are the major causes of the decline in clinical trials in the UK? What are barriers currently impeding the ability to run trials? How are they recognised and addressed, especially considering differences between specialties? In addressing such questions, this panel will explore the need to restore clinical trial capabilities in the UK to deliver growth and improve the delivery of care.

Sign up here

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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 startups 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

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