Since we launched, Onward has published 15 research reports, held over 60 events, hosted 25 Cabinet Ministers and grown our young people’s network to around 1,000 under-35s. You can read more in our impact statement here. But our real impact comes in the form of political support for our policies. In this year’s general election, we saw Onward’s ideas gain considerable political traction.
Here are a number of policies in the Conservative Manifesto that drew on Onward’s work:
Our fiscal rules mean that public sector net investment will not average more than 3 per cent of GDP, and that if debt interest reaches 6 per cent of revenue, we will reassess our plans to keep debt under control.
In Firing On All Cylinders, written by Neil O’Brien MP, we recommended that: “The current set of fiscal rules and the plan to reduce debt sharply should be replaced with a single more expansive fiscal rule – to keep debt to GDP falling gently in normal times.”
A Conservative Government will give the public services the resources they need, supporting our hospitals, our schools and our police… In his first months in office, Boris Johnson announced an extra £14 billion in funding for schools… we are backing our police, putting 20,000 more officers on the streets.
In Firing On All Cylinders, we recommended that “The 2019 Spending Review must aim to meet some of the key pressures in the public services. In particular, it should return school spending to its 2015 record level of real spending per pupil and keep it at that record level. It should provide for sustained recruitment into the police and growth in officer numbers.”
We will raise the National Insurance threshold to £9,500 next year – representing a tax cut for 31 million workers.
In Firing On All Cylinders, we recommended that “National Insurance cuts might be a better candidate to help people on low incomes. Because the threshold for National Insurance Contributions (NICs) is lower than that for Income Tax, increasing the threshold for National Insurance is likely to be more progressive than increasing the income tax Personal Allowance further.”
We will help pay for this by bringing in a stamp duty surcharge on non-UK resident buyers.
We will create a prisoner education service focused on work-based training and skills. We will improve employment opportunities for ex-offenders, including ajob coach in each prison
We will amend planning rules so that the infrastructure – roads, schools, GP surgeries – comes before people move into new homes.
We will give city regions the funding to upgrade their bus, tram and train services to make them as good as London’s.
We will establish a £150 million Community Ownership Fund to encourage local takeovers of civic organisations or community assets that are under threat – local football clubs, but also pubs or post offices.
We will introduce tougher sentencing for the worst offenders and end automatic halfway release from prison for serious crimes.
We also will continue to explore ways to tackle the problem of grade inflation and low quality courses [in Higher Education].
We will ensure that £500 million of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund is used to give disadvantaged people the skills they need to make a success of life.”