Key Government Achievements
- Deficit cut by a quarter
- Interest rates at a record low
- Massive infrastructure investment
- Capping benefits
- Controlling immigration
- Crime down
- Making work pay
- Income tax cut for 25 million
- Freezing Council Tax
- Biggest increase in basic state pension
- Cutting fuel duty
- Better access to cancer drugs
- Helping people onto the housing ladder
- Hundreds of new Free Schools and Academies
Getting borrowing under control to deal with our debts
- Deficit down by more than one quarter in two years. Public Sector Net Borrowing as a percentage of GDP fell from 11.2 per cent in 2009-10 to 8.0 per cent in 2011-12, a fall of more than one quarter in two years (ONS, Public sector finances statistical bulletin: September 2012, 19 October 2012, Table PSF9).
- Market interest rates at record lows. Public sector finance statistics show that the UK has saved £1.4 billion in interest payments so far this year compared last year. This equates to £7.7 million a day saved in interest costs. This is thanks to our record low interest rates (ONS, Public Sector Finances, 19 October 2012, link).
Building a recovery on a stronger private sector
- Corporation tax cut to 24 per cent this year. Corporation tax has been cut from 28 per cent in 2011-12 to 24 per cent in 2012-13. It will be reduced to 22 per cent by 2014-15, within touching distance of 20 per cent which is the lowest in the G20 (HMT, Budget 2012, Table 2.1).
- Labour’s Jobs Tax stopped. Labour planned to increase Employer National Insurance by one percentage point in 2011-12, a tax on jobs. The June 2010 Budget stopped the most damaging part of this tax, by raising the threshold for employer NICs by £21 above indexation in April 2011 (HMT, Budget June 2010, p. 3).
- Funding for Lending scheme launched to kickstart lending to the real economy. The Funding for Lending scheme will kickstart lending to UK households and firms, and boost growth in the economy. 30 banks and building societies had signed up to the Funding for Lending Scheme which will run for eighteen months and encourage banks to make mortgages and loans cheaper and more easily available, providing welcome support to businesses that want to expand and families aspiring to own their own home (HM Treasury Press Release, 1 August 2012, link; HM Treasury Press Release, 13 July 2012, link;Bank of England, Funding for Lending Scheme, 29 October 2012).
- Planning system reformed. The new National Planning Policy Framework will reform the planning system so that it supports growth with a powerful presumption in favour of sustainable development. The final Framework simplifies over 1,300 pages of inherited policy in 44 separate documents into a single 50 page document (DCLG, National Planning Policy Framework, 27 March 2012, link).
- £3.3 billion net cut in the cost of red tape to business. The Government has examined around 1,500 regulations through the Red Tape Challenge, over half of which will be scrapped or improved. The Government has achieved a cumulative net reduction of regulation since January 2011 worth £3.3 billion to business (HMT, Budget 2012, p. 46).
- Small business rate relief holiday for two and a half years. For two and a half years from October 2010, small firms have been receiving 100 per cent rate relief on properties up to £6,000 rateable value, and a tapered rate relief from £6,000 to £12,000. An estimated 330,000 small firms are paying no rates at all as a result (Hansard, 22 October 2012, Col.630 WS).
- 24 new Enterprise Zones created. We have created 24 new Enterprise Zones which benefit from: up to 100 per cent business rate discount, simplified planning regulations, new superfast broadband, allowing business rates growth to be retained by the local authority and reinvested in the local area, and the potential to use enhanced capital allowances for zones with a strong focus on manufacturing (Hansard, 21 March 2012, Col. 798).
Getting Britain Working
- The private sector has created nearly 1.2 million jobs since the election. The private sector has created nearly 1.2 million jobs since the election (ONS, Labour Force Survey Summary, 12 September 2012, Table EMP02, link).
- There are more people in work now than ever before. Employment is up by almost 750,000 since the election. In the three months to July 2012, there were 29.590 million people in employment – this is more people in employment than ever before (ONS, Labour Market Statistics, 17 October 2012, Table A02, link).
- There are over a quarter of a million more women in work under this Government. The number of women in February-April 2010 in employment was 13,464,000. This has now risen to 13,715,000 – a rise of 251,000. The number of women in work has increased by 118,000 on the quarter (ibid.).
- Work Programme helping 693,000 people back into work. The Government’s Work Programme is beginning to deliver. It is currently helping 693,000 people back into work (Hansard, 17 October 2012, Col. 313, link).
- More than 500,000 people started an apprenticeship last year. In 2011-12, 502,500 people started an apprenticeship. The number of people aged under 25 starting an apprenticeship increased by 52,000 between 2009-10 and 2011-12. This is equivalent to an extra 142 young apprentices every day (The Data Service, Quarterly Statistical First Release: Post-16 Education & Skills, 11 October 2012, link).
- Youth Contract introduced to help young people back into work. The Government’s £1 billion Youth Contract began on 2 April and will provide nearly 500,000 new opportunities for 18-24 years olds through wage subsidies to employers, including apprenticeships and voluntary work experience placements (DWP Press Release, 5 January 2012).
- New Enterprise Allowance. The New Enterprise Allowance has so far helped unemployed people create 8,180 new businesses. It has now been extended so unemployed people who produce a viable business plan will be able to get access to £2,000 worth of financial support from day one - slashed from the previous six month wait. An extra 33,000 people will also be able to work with a business mentor to develop their plans from day one (DWP Press Release, 17 October 2012, link).
- The number of workless households has fallen by 244,000 since the election. In April-June 2010, there were 3,920,000 workless households. In April-June 2012, there were 3,676,000. This is a fall of 244,000. The number of households where no one has ever worked has also fallen by 4,000 since the election (ONS, Working and Workless Households 2012, 29 August 2012, Table A, link; ibid., Table E).
Ending the Something for Nothing Culture
- Housing Benefit capped – opposed by Labour. The Government has capped Housing Benefit so that taxpayers will no longer be subsidising some families to get over £100,000 per year in Housing Benefit to live in areas that they themselves cannot afford. From April 2011 the Government removed the five bedroom Local Housing Allowance rate so that the maximum level is for a four bedroom property and introduced absolute caps so that Local Housing Allowance rates cannot exceed a maximum of £400 per week or £20,800 per year (DWP, Impact of changes to Local Housing Allowance from 2011, link).
- Benefit cap put on the statute books – opposed by Labour. It is not fair that households on out of work benefits should receive a greater income from the state than the average working household receives in wages. So in the Welfare Act we included a cap linked to average weekly earnings, which will limit the amount of benefits a household can receive to £26,000 a year. It will come into force in April 2013 (DWP website, accessed 16 May 2012, link).
- Creating an immigration system that benefits Britain. We have capped the number of non-EU skilled workers employers can bring here to work at 20,700 a year. No non-EU unskilled workers are allowed. Our action to reform the student route of migration has seen a drop of more than 90,000 in the number of student visas in the year to June 2012 (Home Office Press Release, 6 April 2011; Hansard, 22 March 2011, Col. 858; UKBA, Annual Report and Accounts 2011-12, 2012, pp.8 – 9, link).
- Crime is falling. The latest figures show that crime fell by 12 per cent in the twelve months to June 2012. Crime has fallen by 10 per cent since the general election (Home Office, British Crime Survey, Recorded crime by police force area, English region and Wales, 12 months to June 2010, link).
Being on the side of people who work hard and want to get on in life
- Income tax cut for 25 million and 1.1 million taken out of tax so far. The personal allowance for under 65s increased by a further £630 to £8,105 in April 2012. The combined impact of this increase, alongside the £1,000 increase announced at the June 2010 Budget, benefitted 25 million individuals by up to £326 a year in cash terms and means that a total of 1.1 million people have been lifted out of income tax altogether (HMT, Budget 2011, p. 35).
- Fuel duty cut, now 10p lower than it would have been under Labour. We’ve abolished Labour’s fuel duty escalator, cut fuel duty by 1p and delayed most of Labour’s planned rises in fuel duty. This will save families up to £159 filling up their care by the end of the year (HMT, Autumn Statement 2011, p. 8).
- Council tax frozen for two years with support for a third year on its way. Council tax has been cut in real terms this year, thanks to the second year of the Conservatives council tax freeze. We will also support for local authorities in England to help them freeze council tax for a third year. This will save an average family up to £72 a year on a Band D home, on top of last two year’s freeze. This goes beyond our manifesto promise to freeze council tax for (DCLG Press Release, 13 February 2012, link; DCLG Press Release, 8 October 2012, link).
- The biggest ever cash increase to the Basic State Pension. The Government has increased the Basic State Pension by a record amount, £5.30 per week, thanks to our triple lock. The triple lock guarantees that the Basic State Pension will always increase either in line with earnings, inflation, or 2.5 per cent – whichever is the highest (Hansard, 21 March 2012, Col. 801).
Better public services
- More doctors, fewer managers, less bureaucracy. Since the General Election, there are now 895 more midwives, 7,210 more doctors and 7,126 fewer managers working in the NHS (NHS Information Centre, Provisional Monthly NHS Hospital and Community Health Service Workforce Statistics in England, 23 October 2012, link).
- More than 21,000 patients given access to £600 million Cancer Drugs Fund. Since the Cancer Drugs Fund was introduced by this Government in October 2010, 21,000 patients have received access to the cancer drugs they need (Department of Health Press Release, 8 October 2012, link).
- Keeping waiting times low. Latest figures show that the number of people waiting longer than 26 and 52 weeks to start treatment is at its lowest level since records began.At the end of August 2012, over 100,000 fewer patients were waiting longer than 18 weeks to start treatment than the same time last year (Department of Health Press Release, 18 October 2012, link).
- Restoring rigour and respectability to the exams system. We haveended GCSE modularisation tackling the re-sit culture which saw pupils re-taking certain modules until they got enough marks to pass. We have also reintroduced assessment of spelling, punctuation and grammar in exams with an extensive written element (DfE Press Release, 14 December 2011, link).
- Extra help for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. We have introduced the Pupil Premium to support the education of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. It will be worth £2.5 billion by 2014-15 and schools have been given the freedom to use the additional funding in innovative ways (DfE Press Release, 24 September 2012, link).
- More good school places. We are letting parents, teachers and charities set up great new schools in the state sector, giving more parents the choice of a good school. 24 Free Schools opened in September 2011 and 55 further Free Schools opened in September 2012. We have approved over 100 more Free Schools to open in September 2013 and beyond. Our Academies Act allows any existing school to convert to an Academy with the approval of the Education Secretary. We have turned 298 failing schools into Academies and we have allowed a further 1,808 schools to convert to Academy status. Overall, we have so far opened more than 2,000 Academies, compared to only 203 Academies opened by Labour (DfE Press Release, 7 September 2012, link; DfE Press Release, 3 September 2012, link).
Standing up for Britain in Europe
- Introduced a Referendum Lock. Our European Union Act ensures that in future the British people will have their say on any proposed transfer of powers from the UK to the EU. Under the Act, any proposed change to the EU treaties that moves powers or areas of policy from the UK to the EU will have to get the consent of the British people in a referendum before it can be agreed. Because of this, it would now be illegal for any government to act as Labour did over the Lisbon Treaty (European Union Act, July 2011).
- Ended UK participation in EU bailouts. We have secured a commitment that the European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM), which provides loans to EU member states in financial difficulties, will come to an end in 2013. Labour signed the UK up to the EFSM in May 2010. Thanks to tough negotiation, our participation will end in 2013 (Hansard, 28 March 2011, col. 35).
- Vetoed a new EU fiscal treaty. In December 2011 the Prime Minister refused to agree to a new EU treaty because our reasonable safeguards for the Single Market could not be obtained. This is the first time a British Prime Minister has ever vetoed an EU Treaty and Britain’s interests were protected as a result of this decision (Hansard, 12 December 2011, Col. 519-522).