Policy-by-policy: How's coalition done so far?

The coalition has published an overview and a more detailed pledge-by-pledge audit of its progress. Here are a selection of the coalition's original pledges and its assessment of progress, as well as Labour and BBC experts' commentary.

BANKING

Money
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • Commission to look at "structural" banking reform
  • New banking levy
  • Clampdown on "unacceptable" bonuses
  • More lending to businesses

Where power lies

Not all coalition policies apply to all of the UK. For more details on Westminster's complex settlement with the devolved institutions, see BBC Democracy Live's guide.

What coalition says it's achieved:
  • Stability of banks has improved
  • "Failed" regulatory system to be replaced in April
  • Levy ensures banks make "fair" contribution
  • "Unparalleled transparency" in bankers' pay
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Banks have been given tax cut and the levy is "weak"
  • Bankers' bonuses remain "large" and transparency insufficient
  • Banks not lending enough to viable small businesses
  • Regulatory reform plans inadequate
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Further reforms to financial regulation, including a separation of retail and investment banking
  • More competition among high-street banks

BBC business reporter Robert Plummer says: Government changes to the UK banking system have been announced, but are still pending. The Financial Services Bill will change the regulatory system of the UK's financial sector, abolishing the Financial Services Authority. A separate bill on bank reforms, the Financial Services Bill, will go before Parliament this year. Its aim is to separate banks' retail operations from their riskier investment banking.

BUSINESS

City of London skyline
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • No new regulation without "other regulation being cut by a greater amount"
  • Simplify taxes for small businesses
  • Create "most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20"
  • Make it easier to start new businesses
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • Helped businesses create more than one million new jobs
  • Cut corporation tax from 28% to 24% and legislate for 21% by 2014
  • Cut top rate of income tax even as "the wealthiest pay more overall"
  • Enabled business lending to increase
  • Invested in high-tech industry, infrastructure, housing, and regional growth
  • Curbed bureaucracy
Where it accepts it has missed targets:
  • Corporation tax of 21% puts UK at fourth lowest in the G20
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • More than 40,000 businesses have gone bust
  • Take-up of National Insurance holiday scheme very low
  • Workers' rights under threat
  • Government has "no plan for jobs and growth"
  • Regional growth scheme is "in chaos"
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Develop industrial strategy
  • More investment in high-tech industry, infrastructure, and house-building
  • Devolve powers over local economies
  • Boost lending to businesses
  • Ease burden of taxation on small businesses
  • Cut regulation further
  • Alter employment law, e.g. by introducing shared parental leave
  • Promote British exports

BBC business correspondent Jonty Bloom says: Business would probably give the government a "could do better" on its report card. The general view is probably that cuts in red tape and some specific measures to help industry, like cuts in corporation tax, are welcome but the government has not done enough or with enough urgency. Certainly attempts to rebalance the economy towards manufacturing and export led industries are not making much progress while many of the government's spending cuts have been to infrastructure spending, an area where many businesses would like to see more spending not less.

CIVIL LIBERTIES

CCTV camera
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • Great Repeal Bill, to include abolition of ID cards
  • Safeguards for use of personal details on the DNA database
  • Defend trial by jury
  • Review libel laws
  • End unjustified storage of data on web-usage
  • Commission to assess case for British Bill of Rights
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • ID cards scrapped
  • Abuse of anti-terror laws prevented
  • System of monitoring suspected terrorists altered
  • DNA retention curbed
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Plans for increased surveillance of web usage causing "huge alarm"
  • Ministers forced to alter "secret courts" plans after Lords defeats
  • DNA changes make it harder for police to catch criminals
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Complete process of reforming libel laws
  • Boost scrutiny of security services
  • Find right "balance" on trials involving matters of national security
  • Consider the commission's report on the case for a new Bill of Rights

BBC home affairs reporter Steve Swann says: The coalition promised to "reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion". It quickly scrapped the expensive and controversial ID card scheme and reformed the DNA database. But civil liberties groups describe plans for internet service providers to store all details of online communication in the UK for a year as a "snoopers' charter."

COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Rubbish collector
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • "Radical" shift in power to local government and community groups
  • Councils and residents to increase role in local planning decisions
  • Bring empty homes into use, and promote shared housing ownership schemes
  • Freeze council tax
  • Improve energy efficiency of new housing
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • "Sweeping reforms" have increased local authorities' freedoms
  • Council tax frozen
  • Neighbourhoods have more power over planning
  • Directly elected mayors introduced in Bristol, Leicester and Liverpool
  • Retention of weekly refuse collections for 6 million households
Where it accepts it has missed targets:
  • Regional Spatial Strategies were to have been abolished "rapidly", but so far only one has been formally revoked; the other seven will go "as soon as possible"
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • House-building has fallen
  • Rents and homelessness are rising
  • Localism policies actually gave "extraordinary" new powers to central government
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Devolve more powers to local government
  • Support local authorities keen to share services

BBC political reporter Justin Parkinson says: There's been no shortage of action in this area. The government is bullish about the prospects of getting more empty homes into use, while saying changes to planning will help increase building levels, although that has yet to happen. The coalition has been keen to promote itself as a liberator of councils from the diktats of Whitehall, though the opposition and many councillors might disagree thanks to issues such as council tax, bin collections, house extensions and schools reform. Many of the measures are only now coming into force, so this might be one to judge in two years' time.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

Credit cards
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • Regulators to have power to ban "excessive" charges for credit and store cards
  • Better information for credit-card users
  • End unfair bank charges
  • Curb "abuses of power" by supermarkets
  • Better information on different tariffs to be included in energy bills
  • Establish a free national financial advice service
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • Energy companies will notify customers of cheaper tariffs
  • The Money Advice Service has been established
  • Car insurance premiums have been cut
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Government failing to stand up for consumers
  • Train companies hiking fares after Labour's "strict cap" was abolished
  • All top energy companies raising prices by between 10% and 20%
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Ensure consumers get the lowest appropriate energy tariff
  • Clarify consumers' rights in law
  • Stop regulated rail fares and London Transport fares rising by an average of more than 1% above inflation in 2013 and 2014
  • Give consumers access to data collected and held by businesses
  • Decide whether to extend the rural fuel discount scheme to remote mainland communities
  • Strengthen protection against "rogue bailiffs"

BBC personal finance reporter Kevin Peachey says: Consumers lose £6.6bn a year owing to rogue trading. The government has overhauled the way this is tackled, with Citizen's Advice dealing with frontline enquiries, and trading standards officers taking on investigations into persistent con-artists. But consumer group Which? branded the move as "ill-conceived", and trading standards departments face ongoing cuts in funding from local authorities.

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