This year marks the 25th anniversary of Policy Connect, a think tank I founded in 1995 and which I now chair. I am a social scientist by training and have always believed that government policy needs to be based on research and evidence in order to be effective. Popular promises and slogans are all well and good, but can these be translated into tangible outcomes that improve people’s daily lives?
This week, I attended several Policy Connect events in Parliament, which addressed this question. At a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Manufacturing, we discussed issues we want to take forward in the new Parliament, including diversity in the manufacturing industry and the role that manufacturing has to play in achieving net-zero by 2050. It is exciting to see a group of MPs, Lords and industry professionals so determined to prioritise fair, ethical and environmental considerations in the manufacturing sector.
Another highlight was the round-table discussion on energy from waste. Leading on from a Policy Connect report about the UK Government’s plastic waste strategy, this meeting focused on what to do with the waste we will never be able to recycle. We discussed the possibilities of turning it into energy and using it to heat homes and fuel cars; benefiting from a range of opinions from Extinction Rebellion, Local Government and waste management representatives. I am proud of the work Policy Connect does in producing high-quality research to inform parliamentarians and sector leaders on some of the most pressing issues of the day, ranging from the environment to health, and I look forward to seeing this continue in the new Parliament.