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.

ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS

Field of wheat
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • Criminalise the import or possession of illegally logged timber
  • Launch tree-planting campaign
  • Review governance of National Parks
  • Work towards EU air quality standards
  • Improve flood defences
  • Encourage recycling
  • A "carefully managed and science-led policy of badger control" to curb bovine TB
  • Give MPs a free vote on repeal of the Hunting Act

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:
  • Better deal for farmers, particularly milk producers
  • Clearer food labelling
  • Developed strategy on generating energy from waste via anaerobic digestion
  • Lower fuel bills for remote communities
Where it accepts it has missed targets:
  • Pilot badger culls were postponed
  • A bid to ban laboratory testing of household products on animals appears to have been hampered by the lack of "a working definition of 'household product'"
  • Action against "irresponsible owners of dangerous dogs" has so far been limited to holding a consultation
  • Ivory sales were to have been banned, but the coalition's aim is now to impose "strict" rules on sales
  • The free vote on the hunting ban "has not yet been taken forward"
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Ministers forced into U-turn on selling publicly owned forests
  • Continued support for badger cull goes against official advice
  • Investment in flood defences cut by 27%
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Improve broadband internet access and improve mobile phone network coverage
  • Plant a million trees by 2015
  • Curb the trade in illegal logging
  • Implement the "Biodiversity Strategy"
  • Cut regulations on marine licensing
  • Invest in "flood risk management"
  • Cut air pollution in towns and cities
  • Tackle bovine TB with the postponed badger cull
  • Implement the "Ash Dieback Control Strategy"

BBC environment correspondent Matt McGrath says: Two issues have dominated Environment and Rural Affairs: badgers and ash dieback. The government's proposed cull of badgers was postponed by last minute confusion over numbers. They say they are determined to go ahead this summer. However opponents believe that rising costs and the threat of protests could see the measure shelved indefinitely. On ash trees, the coalition await the spring with trepidation to see just how far the dieback fungus has spread. And there may be a lurking time bomb in the overall costs of dealing with the problem.

EQUALITIES

Civil partnership
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • Tackle discrimination at work, including in pay packages
  • Promote gender equality on company boards
  • Offer Whitehall internships to ethnic minority candidates
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • Automatic retirement at 65 abolished
  • Proportion of female board members up by about a half
  • Past convictions for consensual gay relationships quashed
Where it accepts it has missed targets:
  • A plan to ensure that no public sector worker could earn more than 20 times their lowest paid colleague has been dropped
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Women hit hardest by spending cuts
  • Insufficient action to curb childcare costs
  • Ministers have abandoned a Labour bid to tackle the gender pay gap
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Legislate for same-sex marriages
  • Compel companies that have "unequal pay practices" to change them

BBC political reporter Justin Parkinson says: The coalition uses the audit to demonstrate that it is improving people's workplace rights - such as greater flexibility and better information on pay differentials. It is also looking at ways of getting more women on the boards of FTSE 100 companies, arguing there has been progress. The same-sex marriage plans have been announced, but are causing controversy and the bill is expected to prompt some of the fiercer parliamentary battles of this parliament.

EUROPE

EU flag
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • UK to play a "strong and positive role" in the EU
  • No further transfer of powers to Brussels without referendum
  • Ensure that UK does not join euro
  • Support EU enlargement
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • "Referendum lock" in place
  • Group of 12 pro-market EU member states established
  • Agreed to EU-Singapore free-trade deal
  • Backed accession of Croatia to EU
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Veto at December 2011 summit showed "failure" of UK leadership
  • David Cameron "sleepwalking" towards EU exit
  • Decision to opt out of European Arrest Warrant undermines fight against international crime
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Insist on "fiscally responsible" outcome in long-term EU budget negotiations
  • Defend the interests of British banks
  • Publish the findings of a comprehensive review of the UK's relationship with the EU
  • Push for a free-trade deal between the EU and the US
  • Seek changes to Working Time Directive

BBC political reporter Justin Parkinson says: Europe is a difficult issue for the coalition, given the differing opinions of the Tory and Lib Dem leaderships. This section of the audit is presented in a very dry, factual manner. But it stresses that the UK has struck a deal to ensure it is not liable for any future euro area assistance programmes and to protect access to the single market. It doesn't mention the big issue of the moment - whether or not there should be a referendum on Britain's relations with the EU.

FAMILIES

Family
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • End child poverty by 2020
  • Free nursery care for pre-school children
  • Refocus Sure Start centres on the neediest families
  • "New approach" to helping families with multiple problems
  • Crack down on "irresponsible" advertising to children
  • Promote system of flexible parental leave
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • Payment-by-results scheme in place to help 120,000 most troubled families
  • Children protected from irresponsible advertising
  • Improvements in how child poverty is calculated
  • Support for people aiming to set up childcare businesses
Where it accepts it has missed targets:
  • The audit contains no repeat of the pledge to "maintain the goal of ending child poverty in the UK by 2020" despite the move to redefine the problem
  • An aim to introduce payment-by-results in Sure Start centres appears to have been dropped
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Single-parent families worse off
  • Families contributing more than banks to deficit reduction
  • Sure Start funding cut, with 381 centres closing
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Introduce early education for two-year-olds from poor backgrounds
  • Implement "named midwife" policy
  • Legislate for flexible parental leave
  • Make it easier to adopt
  • Cut child-protection bureaucracy
  • Reduce delays in family law cases
  • Hire 4,200 more health visitors
  • Allow Lib Dems to abstain on tax breaks for married couples

BBC political reporter Kayte Rath says: David Cameron said he wanted his government to be the most family-friendly government ever, but has faced criticism for backing cuts that have hit women the hardest. The audit says the coalition is on track to provide an extra 4,200 health visitors by April 2015 - a key pledge - and has taken steps to tackle problem families. It also says it has cracked down on irresponsible advertising and marketing to children, reviewed family law and made more funding available to support relationship counselling. But a pledge to provide flexible parental leave following the birth of a child will not be brought in until 2015.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Union flag
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • Work towards security in Afghanistan and peace in the Middle East
  • Improve relations with India and maintain ties with the US
  • Strengthen the Commonwealth and reform the UN Security Council
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • A transition to democracy in Libya
  • Support for more open societies in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen
  • Helped secure sanctions against Iran in response to nuclear programme
  • Provided aid to victims of the conflict in Syria
  • Progress in international efforts to tackle piracy off the coast of Somalia
  • Promoted democratic reforms in Burma
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Government not committed to international institutions
  • UK national interest neglected
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Support Afghan government's efforts to improve security, and continue plans to withdraw British troops
  • Prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons
  • Push for peace in Syria
  • Support EU enlargement to Western Balkans and Turkey, subject to conditions
  • Support democracy in Egypt, Libya
  • Press on with Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict initiative
  • Insist on self-determination for Gibraltar and the Falklands

BBC political reporter Kayte Rath says: Boosting UK trade abroad, particularly with the world's fastest-growing economies, has been a key part of the coalition's foreign aspirations. It says it has developed a "special relationship" with India and now has closer ties with China, with the prime minister making visits to both countries. The decision to play a key role in Libya turned out to be a success. An "integrated Afghanistan Strategy" has been been put in place and all UK troops will be withdrawn in 2014.

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