Madano Analysis – Net-Zero leads Labour Party Conference

Written by Ben Gascoyne, Senior Account Director for Net-Zero Transition 

Overview 

Today is the close of Labour Party Conference 2022, and yesterday saw Keir Starmer take to the stage in Liverpool to give his biggest speech of the year.

Comfortably ahead in the polls and with new PM Liz Truss dealing with an immediate and highly damaging backlash bordering on crisis following the launch of her flagship Growth Plan last week, Keir Starmer and Labour sought to present itself as the Government-in-waiting, with a clear and credible plan for power and prosperity. Starmer’s leader’s speech contrasted his party’s focus on long-term improvement and planning with what he portrayed as the current Government’s short-term crisis-to-crisis footing.

On the ground, our team noticed Labour’s confidence and belief in its ability to return to power.

Unequivocally, Labour is behind net zero, a theme that underpinned many of its major policy announcements, including its Industrial Strategy, transport policy and commitment to a new publicly owned renewable energy company. Keir Starmer said that “Clean energy is already cheaper than fossil fuels. Nine times cheaper. We just need more of it. This is about fair growth powered by clean British energy everywhere in the country.”

Labour consistently referred to net zero as a policy agenda that would deliver for the public, for industry, and for workers, and will expect businesses to take note.

What is clear is that Labour wants to hear from business and understand how sectors can deliver its vision in practice. The big picture is set, but detail is needed. By 2023’s Labour Party Conference, its manifesto will have begun to take shape and its agenda for power set. Having met and spoken with Labour’s shadow ministers, advisers, think tanks and party members over recent days, our strong advice is to begin communicating with Labour’s top team sooner, not later.

Labour’s new Industrial Strategy – Prosperity through Partnership

The Shadow Business Secretary, Jonny Reynolds launched a new Industrial Strategy – Prosperity through Partnership – to anchor how Labour works with industry and approaches growth if it wins the next general election.

Reynolds plans to establish a statutory, full-time and professionally staffed Industrial Strategy Council, a body to advise Government on long-term industrial policy opportunities, with an obligation to report to parliament. This will require legislation, but this will make it harder to abolish than Theresa May’s politically appointed version, which Boris Johnson did within three years of its establishment.

Fundamentally, Labour has aimed to make the case that it will increase spending, but will do so to adopt a strategic approach to investing in the UK’s green economy, in an effort to contrast itself with the new PM’s focus on tax cuts and deregulation.

The word ‘partnership’ is important to note – Labour expects its support for business to yield improved productivity, pay, working conditions and futureproofed jobs that are equitably spread across the country. Keir Starmer said “this will require a different way of working – the biggest partnership between government, business and communities this country has ever seen.”

Significant Industrial Strategy policy commitments

Labour’s Industrial Strategy sets the mission of a 100% clean power sector for the UK by 2030, on the basis that this will deliver economic gain, energy security and climate benefit. Hydrogen and the nuclear sector – including SMRs – feature prominently, as does a clearer commitment to solar power than the Conservatives. The detail of how this is delivered is yet to be set.

Additionally, it also sets the mission of the harnessing of data for public good, meaning the use of data science, open data and artificial intelligence to benefit society. Labour expects to leverage this to improve public services and key aspects of public life.

It has put in place four pillars – sovereign capabilities, global champions (exports), future successes (start-ups and scale-ups) and the everyday economy – to help assess its approach to investing and targeting interventions within those four missions. It is running an active policy commission to explore how it can improve the UK’s environment for start-ups, spinouts and scale-ups.

The bedrock of Labour’s Industrial Strategy is an £8bn Green Investment Fund. This was announced by Shadow Climate Secretary Ed Miliband and his team (including Shadow Climate Change and Net Zero Minister, Alan Whitehead, who spoke at Madano’s event with Hydrogen UK), and will seek to co-invest alongside the private sector to accelerate progress towards its policy aims while delivering returns for the taxpayer.

Hydrogen amongst other forms of renewables appeared very prominently in speeches by Keir Starmer and Ed Miliband, with Starmer saying that “Some nation will be the first to harness new hydrogen power. Why not Britain?”. Both Miliband and Starmer also confirmed Labour’s support for new nuclear in their speeches.

Elsewhere at Labour’s Party Conference, the Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves also pledged to support the Scottish Cluster’s plans for carbon capture.

Great British Energy

Keir Starmer made headlines on Tuesday by announcing that he will establish a new publicly owned renewable energy company, Great British Energy. Madano noted how well received the announcement was by party members on the conference floor.

The new company is expected to be modelled on France’s EDF, or Sweden’s Vattenfall, but will solely focus on renewables with the aim of establishing the UK in Starmer’s words as a “clean energy superpower”, with greater energy independence. He said that net zero is “at the heart of modern, 21st century aspiration”, and that Britain had wealth in “our air, in our seas, in our skies”, so should “harness that wealth and share it with all.”

He criticised the extent to which the UK’s current renewables were owned by overseas state-owned firms, with the rise in UK energy bills rewarding other state-owned energy companies.

To make this significant policy commitment possible, Labour aims to seed fund a £2bn publicly owned renewable energy company, but again, how this will be delivered remains to be detailed.

A more confident approach to transport policy

The focus on net zero also offered Labour the opportunity to begin putting in place a more confident approach to transport strategy, after difficulty earlier in the summer determining the party’s position on industrial action.

Making the case that a poor public transport system made net zero undeliverable, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh has pledged to:

  • Renationalise rail. Highlighting existing public subsidy for rail operators in contrast to current crises across the rail network, Haigh has committed Labour to taking public control of rail. What this looks like in practice, particularly given Government plans to establish Great British Railways, were not fully detailed.
  • Invest in rail and low carbon infrastructure to support Labour’s net zero aims, although Northern Powerhouse Rail was the only project highlighted.
  • Further devolve control over public transport. Labour committed to greater devolution of regional public transport services, with a commitment to nationally expanding the devolved bus franchising powers recently won by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

 

Please contact us for more information at MadanoNetZero@madano.com.

Your Party Conference Survival Guide: Madano’s Top Tips

Your Party Conference Survival Guide: Madano’s Top Tips

Written by Troy Aharonian, Net Zero Transition team 

Party conference season is upon us and will take place during the most unique political moment in recent memory. In the wake of the Queen’s tragic passing, a new PM being appointed, and new Government being formed, skyrocketing energy prices and inflation that needs urgent attention, the Government and Opposition both have a dozen competing priorities. 

  • The Labour Party Conference will occur in Liverpool from Sunday 25 September to Wednesday 28. 
  • The Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham from Sunday 2 October to Wednesday 5 October. 
  • The SNP Conference in Aberdeen on Saturday 8 to Monday 10 October. 
  • The Liberal Democrat Conference in Brighton originally scheduled for 17 September to 20 September has been postponed due to Her Majesty’s passing. 

To have a successful Conference, you should ensure some logistical arrangements are in order. 

  • Book your travel: One of the biggest challenges for many will be getting to the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences. There are currently no trains running from London to Liverpool on the Saturday and Sunday of Labour Party Conference. The Aslef union has announced that it will stage 24-hour walkouts on 1 and 5 October to target the CPC in Birmingham. Attendees will likely have to consider renting a car or bussing to Liverpool and Birmingham. 
  • Things are shaping up to be busy: Following the sort of half-way-house conference season we saw in 2021 – business is back, fringe events are well stocked, and MPs’ time is in high demand – it will be important to ensure that you plan your conference schedules carefully to ensure you make the most of your time in Liverpool or Birmingham, or indeed Brighton or Aberdeen. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes: While this may seem obvious, days at party conferences start early and end late. You will be on your feet for most of the day and events are spread across large conference centres. You will get your daily steps in so plan accordingly! 

Those looking to understand the political landscape over the coming year should pay attention to the following three things. 

  • Who values net zero: With the cost of living continuing to gobble up headlines, the Government is prioritising the immediate measures it has proposed. Meanwhile, it will be analysing all government energy policy including the current Energy Bill progressing through Parliament with four goals in mind: energy affordability, boosting supply and energy security, economic growth and meeting the UK’s net zero goals. Can net zero compete with other priorities like cost-of-living, energy prices, inflation, and the war in Ukraine? Or do the Conservative and Labour parties see this crisis as a reason to double down on their commitments to net zero?   
  • Who is vying for attention or trying to keep relevant: Given the extent of change, and the seemingly inevitable hard recession – many organisations use party conferences as a way to ensure their priorities maintain in manifesto writer’s minds and relevant to the party caucus. Recent years have seen automation, innovation and green growth as key area – it is expected that net zero will be front and centre this year (given conference planning starts in the spring) but what will the conversations sitting around this look like? 
  • The next General Election and Scottish independence: There will obviously be plenty of talk and preparation at party conferences for the next election. We have just seen a significant cabinet reshuffle in the Conservative camp, and this will take time to bed, time that the electorate doesn’t want to give the party. But equally for the Scottish National Party – marking intent for the fate of the Union will also be a key part of their weekend in Aberdeen.  

If you follow these simple tips, you will be set up for success at whichever party conference you and your organisation attend. If you would like to connect with a Madano team member at Labour or Conservative Party Conferences, please drop us a line at MadanoNetZero@madano.com. 

Madano Viewpoint- Heatwaves

Madano Viewpoint- Heatwaves

An opinion piece written by Chloe Sanderson, Senior Account Director, Net Zero Transition

Recently, travelling into the office is in and of itself a motivational tool to make sure we reach net zero. As I hop on the bus, I’m already fanning myself and trying to come unstuck from the vinyl seat, despite it only being 8am, and then we turn a corner and I’m met by a yellow, parched, dusty Common. If we were waiting for the reality of climate change to slap us around the face, we’re already there.  

The world of net zero has two main communications challenges and the summer heatwave has provided a solution to one of those: we can all see and feel that climate change is happening now. Every day another story emerges about hosepipe bans, soaring temperatures, agricultural struggles and gushing rivers turning into tiny trickles. It’s getting harder and harder to deny that we are in the early years of a crisis which is set to get worse before it gets better. 

However, the second challenge – communicating a solution – is still very much present. The main issue being that there isn’t one easy, low-cost, immediately available silver bullet. Industry and political leaders are facing the unappealing choice between fight or flight: either wade into the debate on where to put money and efforts to protect those in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, whilst also laying the foundations for a net zero future; or bury their heads in the sand, stall, and hope no one notices that the world burst into flames on our watch. But the cost of not putting one’s head above the parapet is that nothing gets done and the climate crisis rages on. That’s too high a price to pay.  

That’s what I tell clients every day. It’s going to take bravery to speak up, we won’t get everything right and there will be some bumps along the way. We don’t have the silver bullet, but neither does anyone else, whether it’s hydrogen, nuclear, ultra-low carbon concrete or renewables. But it’s better to have moved the conversation on and at least tried to make a difference than look back and wonder if there was more we could have done. 

On that note, I better get back to the job in hand. We have no time to lose.  

If you would like to contact a member of the team, please email MadanoNetZero@madano.com

 

The History of LGBTQ+ History Month UK

The History of LGBTQ+ History Month UK

LGBTQ+ History Month UK is celebrated in February. Founded In 1994 by a high-school history teacher and brought to the UK by Schools Out UK in 2005, it’s a month for observing the history of gay rights, LGBT civil rights movements as well as the wider historical contribution of LGBTQ+ people to society/humanity. This year’s theme is “The Arc is Long”, referring to Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s quote “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first official Pride March, which was held in 1972 in North London and attended by 2000 people. Since then, a lot has changed – an estimated 1.5 million people attended the most recent London Pride March in 2019. LGBTQ+ rights have broadly increased across the UK, with same-sex marriage being legalised (only) 8 years ago.

Some of the challenges still facing LGBTQ+ people include poorer mental health, safety concerns, conscious and unconscious biases, adoption rights, higher levels of homelessness and so-called ‘conversion therapy’.

As an allied employer, Madano is proud of, champions and actively supports our LGBTQ+ colleagues. We strive to safely welcome those who identify as LGBTQ+ to talk about and share their experiences.

Considering the aim of LGBTQ+ History Month has always been to “eliminate prejudice by educating people”, we wanted to take this opportunity to share some notable milestones in the UK’s modern LGBTQ+ history:

  • December 1939: Alan Turing solves the Enigma code used for coded communications by the Axis powers in WWIIin 1952 he is prosecuted for same-sex activities and was subsequently chemically castrated – he received a post-humous pardon from Queen Elizabeth II in 2013
  • July 1967: Homosexuality is decriminalised in England and Wales – it is not decriminalised in Northern Ireland until 1981 following intervention by the European Court of Human Rights
  • June 1969: Stonewall Riots in the USA catalysed the modern LGBTQ+ civil rights movement, including the formation of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF)
  • November 1972: The first UK LGBTQ+ Pride March is held in North London
  • October 1975: Maureen Colquhoun becomes the first openly gay Member of Parliament (she later died in 2021)
  • October 1981: The first HIV/AIDs death in Britain is reported at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London – an estimated 33 million HIV/AIDs related deaths have occurred globally since – the UK is projected to have 0 new transmissions of HIV by 2030
  • January 1992: The World Health Organisation (WHO) declassified same-sex attraction as a mental illness
  • March 1997: Equal immigration rights in the UK are extended to same-sex couples
  • January 2000: The ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual people serving in the UK army was lifted
  • December 2005: The Civil Partnership Act 2004 comes into force, allowing same-sex couples legal recognition of their relationship, although there remain some technical differences compared to marriage
  • March-December 2014: Same-sex marriage was legalised in England, Wales and Scotland (legalised in 2020 in Northern Ireland)

Reflecting on the past can give us an insight into the expectations that we can have for the future. Even though the arc has been long in achieving equality, diversity, and impactful change, we’re grateful for the present and optimistic about the future.

Written by Harry Fleming, Account Executive in our Healthcare team, and Bethan Neil, Marketing and Brand Coordinator. To get in touch with us at Madano, please email info@madano.com.

What is Blue Monday and why is it important?

What is Blue Monday and why is it important?

We’ve all heard of the “January Blues” – but what about Blue Monday?

 

“Blue Monday” is the name given to the third Monday in January (this year, it falls on the 17th) and is believed to be the ‘most depressing’ day of the year. With the gloomy weather and Christmas celebrations ending, combined with it being a Monday, it’s not hard to see why. The term came about in 2005, when Sky Travel revealed the date in a press release after appointing a psychologist and mental health expert, Dr Cliff Arnall, to calculate the date through an equation. The formula, which is based on the main factors that are most likely to contribute to low mood, is:

 

Equation detailing Blue Monday attributes

 

These are the factors in the equation:

W = Weather
D = Debt
d = Monthly salary
T = Time since Christmas
Q = Time since failing our new year’s resolutions
M = Low motivational levels
Na = The feeling of a need to take action

 

Although this equation has been debunked as ‘pseudoscience’, it serves as a reminder that a low mood is not always caused by one thing, but rather a variety of reasons. Dr Arnall has later said that he didn’t actually mean to perpetuate doom and gloom by identifying the date, but instead saw it as “a bid to encourage people, where possible, to take a positive outlook on the time of year as an opportunity for new beginnings and change.”

 

Neurodiversity refers to the concept that individual differences in brain functioning are as normal as diversity within the human population. This not only encompasses mental health disorders, but also autism, ADHD and learning difficulties. This concept steers our perception away from accepting neurotypical as ‘normal’ and seeing the brain as being as diverse as people. This is one of the reasons why some people might breeze through certain occasions (in this instance Blue Monday) like any other day, and some might find them particularly difficult to get through.

 

Whilst Instagram can often be guilty of presenting us with an unrealistically perfect picture, social media has become a platform for some really positive conversations around mental health. But it’s important to look past an isolated campaign and use these awareness days as a reminder that, there are moments (not just on Blue Monday) where we may all feel sad, down, lost, struggling and worried about something in our lives. It’s okay not to be okay and it’s important to not suffer in silence. The struggle is definitely real, especially after nearly 2 years of pandemic uncertainty which the original Blue Monday equation did not account for.

 

We hope that you take Blue Monday as an opportunity to check in on yourself. Remember that, if you need help, there is a wealth of specialist support services out there for you – here are some of our recommendations:

 

  1. Samaritans – https://www.samaritans.org/
  2. Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/
  3. National Debtline – https://www.nationaldebtline.org/
  4. Beat – beateatingdisorders.org.uk
  5. Refuge – refuge.org.uk
Trust, talent and tech for good: our 2022 technology trends and predictions

Trust, talent and tech for good: our 2022 technology trends and predictions

By now you’ll have read more than enough about 2022 predictions for technology trends as an enabler of everything from the abstract – the metaverse, DAOs and NFTs – to the physical: 3D-printed bone implants, machines that suck carbon from the air, and zero-emissions transport.

 

Naturally, we’re all very excited about that. However, as we hit 2022 running, what our Madano Technology Team is thinking about – and preparing clients for – are the trends in the landscape itself: the factors the UK’s top innovators will need to contend with as they navigate what will inevitably be yet another challenging, but exciting year ahead.

 

MADANO’S TOP TECH PREDICTIONS FOR 2022

  1. Demand for technology will rise – but public trust will continue to wane

We’re all carrying a news hangover from yet another year of blow-out headlines dominated by bombshell whistle blower accusations, full-blown security meltdowns and tech executives facing fraud convictions. And yet although there’s a growing contingent of us who might like to, we can’t quit our complex relationships with technology. It’s too entrenched in our lives, touching everything from how we access health, employment and education, to how we engage in personal relationships, social issues, climate change and politics.

Trust in tech is waning, and that’s a problem for firms big and small – and one they cannot simply innovate away from. The winners of 2022 will be those who not only authentically understand public concerns around privacy and transparency – but who seek to meaningfully address them. Effective and active communications will play the starring role in that.

 

  1. The talent crunch will intensify

Robots, AI and automation are here. And yet they’re not out to take our jobs – in many cases, they’re creating a lot of them. In 2021, high-tech jobs shot up 50% over 2020, with over 160,000 postings in November alone. In 2022, we don’t see signs of that slowing.

Firms looking to start or scale-up with the best and brightest talent will need to put forward an attractive employer brand to cut through intense competition. Mature companies will need to prioritise retention in the face of the Great Resignation.

On the policy front, this will lead to an increased focus on high-tech talent immigration, such as that tabled by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Autumn Budget, and high-tech skills-development for both the current and future workforce.

 

  1. Fierce competition for cash…

Last year brought the best-ever year for tech in the UK, with £29.4bn in venture capital investment (up 2.3x), a record 37 listings and 29 new unicorns, demonstrating a significant appetite from investors that is set to continue into 2022. And if the Autumn Budget 2021 is any indication, we can also expect that government will find more ways to ramp up its Science Superpower ambitions with further focus on domestic R&D and international investment incentives.

With the UK becoming an attractive alternative to Silicon Valley, we can expect in 2022 to see even more global and local market entrants, while existing innovators eke out a bigger piece of the investment pie. Competition – particularly in fintech, payments and logistics – will be fierce.

 

  1. … And attention

More investment = more tech companies = a crowded media landscape, lobbying circuit and social media newsfeed.

As in recent years past, many innovators will tout novel solutions – but in reality, they will be up against many others who do the same. They will also face a public now fully inundated with options.

How these firms position their tech, founders, and executives will define the cut-through they achieve. With that in mind, our new year’s resolution for start-ups is simple: let 2022 be the year of matching your external presence to your internal ambitions. Build proudly in public, embrace the massive media potential of the Twitter newsfeed, and use the power of creative digital to unlock opportunities.

 

  1. Tech for good will breakthrough

2021 brought us weather terms we never wanted to learn, from polar vortexes, heat domes, to a horrifying “eye of fire.” It also brought us significant healthcare access challenges caused by the ripple effects of the pandemic. If we are to believe that 2020 was the year these issues shot to the fore in our collective consciousness, then 2021 was the year that consciousness matured.

But it’s not all bad news, and we like to end things on a positive, which is why our final prediction for 2022 rests in our belief that it will be the year of tech for good. There’s more money and talent in climate, health, life sciences and agrifood tech than ever before, and judging by the UK’s top 2021 tech winners, we can expect these firms to land more investment – and hopefully adoption – this year.

 

Regardless of what happens in 2022, we can be sure that it will be another big, turbulent and exciting year for technology. Are you a tech worker, founder or investor who wants to share your perspectives with us? We’d love to hear from you. Be sure to drop us a line at: techteam@madano.com.

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