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In this week’s newsletter:

  • Fixing Britain’s broken childcare system
  • The pro-growth case for devolution
  • Fan-led future of football

Kevambos Digresennans Kernow. The Government has signed a £360 million devolution deal with Cornwall, creating a new directly-elected Mayor and giving the area greater control over transport, housing, and adult skills. Now almost 50% of England is covered by a devolution deal. Our paper Give Back Control set out 25 recommendations for giving these mayors deeper and broader powers and greater fiscal firepower, alongside bolstered accountability and increased capability.

Cost of childcare. New Onward report First Steps reveals that British couples are paying three times as much on childcare than our OECD peers, in part the result of low public subsidies and an over-complex set of schemes. Adam Hawksbee points out in The Telegraph that high childcare costs not only erode our social fabric, but also limits growth by increasing economic inactivity. Our five point plan includes streamlining funding into simple ‘childcare credits’, funnelling skilled graduates into the early years workforce, and reducing regulation for providers.

Eco Plus Plus Plus. The Government has launched the next phase of the Energy Company Obligation schemes, Eco+, a £1 billion fund that extends help with insulating homes to the least energy efficient houses. Onward joined the Heating Hub, Energy Saving Trust and other industry leaders on the BEIS backbench committee this week to discuss energy usage reduction strategies. Although the scheme is delayed until April 2023, it intends to be a long-term solution to permanently reduce energy bills and secure energy independence for the UK. However, tackling the retrofit skills crisis means that Eco+ must be a “bridge to wider action”.

It’s coming home. England’s successes on the international stage in Qatar have seen the whole country descend into World Cup frenzy. But a shadow looms over the domestic game: more than a year has now passed since the publication of the Fan-Led Review into football governance and ownership, without a White Paper from the Government. Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson penned an op-ed this week urging the Government to accelerate the reforms. Both Reading and Wigan recently failed to pay their players recently. The national game can’t wait for reform much longer.

News and media

Our new report First Steps on fixing Britain’s childcare system received widespread media attention, including The Telegraph, Politico, Politics Home, and The Conservative Reader. Bel Guillaume discussed the reforms on Times Radio.

Adam Hawksbee wrote for Conservative Home on how devolution can boost economic growth. Editor of ConHome Paul Goodman points to Adam’s piece in his message for Sunak’s New Year.

Adam was quoted in an Economist piece on Britain’s challenges with private sector R&D investment, which also quoted our paper Incentivising Innovation.

Upcoming events

‘Onward After Hours’ is our event series for under 35s, connecting the next generation of centre-right political thinkers. These events bring together journalists, special advisors, parliamentary staffers, and others, to inspire fresh thinking and build connections

For our final session of 2022, we will be joined by Katherine Fletcher MP, Member of Parliament for South Ribble, for a drink and a chance to discuss the policy agenda and what matters most for young voters.

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If you would like to attend this event, please sign up here.

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