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22 November 2022

The New Statesman’s change-makers

Martin Lewis, Carolyn Harris and other Positive Impact Award nominees reflect on 2022 and the challenges ahead.

By Spotlight

In a year of domestic and international turmoil, some business and political leaders stood out. This is why the New Statesman is proud to be hosting its inaugural Positive Impact Awards in London on December 6th, to recognise and celebrate the individuals and teams from politics, business and wider society who have left their mark. 

Businesses have shown both innovation and benevolence across all sectors, as our shortlist illustrates. From the Small Robot Company’s highly targeted ‘per plant farming’, leading to huge reductions in fertiliser and herbicide and Eurostar’s offer of free travel for Ukrainians entering the UK to KPMG’s breakthrough introduction of a target for working class hires and Pregnant Then Screwed’s work ending maternity discrimination.

One common thread throughout the year is the effect of the rising cost of living. Few have made as big an impact as awards nominee and money-saving expert Martin Lewis. “When you see problems, it’s about trying…to prod and push those people who make the decisions, whether that’s governments, regulators or companies, to do what they can,” said Lewis, who has been nominated for the positive impact in society award. 

“That’s what my work is focused on – helping people to help themselves,” he added. “I’ve talked to my team about 2023… I like them to understand… how many people rely on the information that we provide. We have to keep our foot on the pedal – we have to keep going because this is far from over.”

There have been bright spots in politics too, within all parties. “There have been some highlights from this year which inspire me to keep fighting,” Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, and a nominee for the positive impact in politics award, said. “Getting my constituent Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe home earlier this year will likely be one of the biggest victories of my political life. After spending six years of sleepless nights wondering if she will ever be reunited with her husband and young daughter, her safe return home made me feel like my work does make a difference.”

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The return of Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a journalist and teacher, was one of the good news stories to come from 2022. Indeed, Nazanin’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, who went on a hunger strike outside of the Foreign Office for three weeks to campaign for his wife’s release from an Iranian prison, is nominated for the positive impact in society award.

There will also be a chance on the night to look forward to next year and discuss priorities. “I think we will all cautiously approach 2023 with the hope that things have to improve,” said Carolyn Harris, the Labour MP for Swansea East who is also up for the positive impact in politics award. For Siddiq, she hopes for a “stronger economy”, adding: “I also hope for an end to Putin’s war in Ukraine and for the safety and security of all those defending their freedoms and human rights around the world.”

The inaugural New Statesman Positive Impact Awards will be held on 6 December at IET London: Savoy Place. The New Statesman’s editor, Jason Cowley; Britain editor, Anoosh Chakelian; and political editor, Andrew Marr, will be presenting awards at the event. Coverage of the ceremony will be published on on the night.

[See also: Short-list announced for New Statesman Positive Impact Awards]

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