Onward

Onward’s mission is to renew the centre right for the next generation, by generating a new wave of modernising ideas and a fresh politics that reaches out to new groups of people. To achieve that, our vision is to create the infrastructure for the centre right to reach, engage and respond to younger generations of voters.

Our target market is the 3 million voters under 35 who considered voting Conservative in 2017, but decided not to. Onward exists to generate new ideas for the next generation.

We are building a powerful ideas factory for centre-right thinkers and leaders. We believe in a mainstream conservatism – one that recognises the value of markets and supports the good that government can do, is unapologetic about standing up to vested interests, and assiduous in supporting the hardworking, aspirational and those left behind. Our goal is to address the needs of the whole country: young as well as old; urban as well as rural; and for all parts of the UK – particularly places that feel neglected or ignored in Westminster.


Latest reports

Giving back better

This report from UK think tank Onward looks at unlocking philanthropy in the UK. Philanthropy is a vital source of economic and social capital. It brings with it wealth in many forms – in funding, expertise, networks, and innovative thinking to solve pressing problems. In the current climate where an alarming number of charities are...

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Greener pastures

This report from UK think tank looks at securing the economic and environmental future of Britain's farms. England’s farmers face twin economic and environmental challenges. Two-fifths earn less than £25,000 a year, and 15% make a loss. Food exports have fallen by 13% since Brexit. Farms are responsible for polluting more rivers and lakes than...

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Pension power

This report from UK think tank Onward explores why the UK pension system under-invests in the tech sector and what can be done to address this. The UK has a chronic pension investment problem, leaving British innovators cash-strapped and preventing savers from cashing in on successful start-ups. Britons’ retirement savings make up a mere 10%...

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Troubled waters

This report from UK think tank Onward looks at tackling the crisis on England’s coast. England’s coast holds an important place in Britain’s history. Towns and cities along the shoreline once welcomed holidaymakers from across the country and hosted industries that exported around the world. Today, the coast is in crisis. Cheap international travel has...

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The social mobility penalty

This report from UK think tank Onward looks at how local government funding misses areas with fewer opportunities. Grants to local authorities are targeted on deprivation, missing parts of the country that might be more affluent overall, but have some of the lowest levels of social mobility. Inner-city boroughs are the winners while smaller towns...

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Wired for success

This report from UK think tank Onward looks at reforming Whitehall to support science and technology. In the first half of 2023 the UK Government transformed its approach to science, creating a new Science Department, setting out a series of new strategies, and establishing an AI-focussed Foundation Models Taskforce backed by £100 million. But our...

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The generative AI revolution: Opportunities, shocks, and risks

This report from UK think tank Onward looks at how the UK must develop “Great British GPT” to stay ahead in the AI race. Artificial Intelligence will be the transformational technology of our generation. In recent months the pace of change has accelerated, with the phenomenon of generative AI creating new applications that have exploded...

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Levelling up locally

is report from UK think tank Onward provides a guide for local leaders to level up their communities. Levelling Up is a national mission. But much of the energy, insight and levers to make change are local. Onward’s Levelling Up In Practice programme brings together research from places across the country to understand common challenges...

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Green jobs, red wall

This report from UK think tank Onward looks at why green industrial jobs are critical to Levelling Up. In the report, we argue that the Government has only five years to secure green factories and bring high skilled jobs to parts of the country most in need of levelling up. These jobs will be crucial...

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Incentivising innovation

This report from UK think tank Onward looks at why R&D tax credits matter, and how to improve them. R&D tax incentives have been a vital tool in driving business R&D spending. In part thanks to the incentives regime, the UK has reached its target for R&D spending (2.4% of GDP by 2027) eight years early....

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Beyond school

This report from UK think tank Onward looks at the case for school enrichment. In this report Onward sets out a plan to boost the provision of school enrichment in every school in England. This is vital to improve outcomes for children. The disadvantage gap has scarcely closed in recent decades and young people are...

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The road to credibility

This report from UK think tank Onward rejects the idea that Treasury orthodoxy must be completely overhauled, arguing that evolution, not revolution, is required. Conservatives must consign half-baked version of Thatcherism to history for the party to restore its economic reputation. The failed experiment with Trussonomics presents an opportunity for the Prime Minister and Chancellor...

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After the fall

This report from UK think tank Onward looks at where the Conservatives went wrong and how they can win again. New report by thinktank Onward draws on a 10,000 person poll by JL Partners to set out where the Conservatives have gone wrong and how they can win again. The polling presents a bleak picture...

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An emergency response to the energy crisis

This report from UK think tank Onward provides a 5-Point Plan for the new Prime Minister on the energy crisis. The new Prime Minister’s handling of the energy crisis could make or break their premiership. Boris Johnson’s successor must be realistic about the scale of the challenge the UK faces and pragmatic about the solutions...

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The kids aren’t alright

This report from UK think tank Onward looks at why young people are detaching from democratic and social norms – and what to do about it. Young people today are unhappier, less socially trusting, and more detached from society than young people historically or older people today. They have fewer friends and lower quality friendships....

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