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.

NATIONAL SECURITY

Policeman at Parliament, London
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • National Security Council established
  • Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) to be carried out
  • Control Orders to be reviewed urgently
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • National Security Council meeting each week
  • SDSR completed

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.

Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Handling of Abu Qatada deportation case "shambolic"
  • Replacement of control orders has weakened restrictions on terror suspects
  • "Chaos" at UK borders in summer 2011 mean a number of people entered the country without the proper checks
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Protect counter-terrorism capabilities
  • Invest in improving cyber security
  • Create Border Policing Command to seize illegal goods and curb illegal immigration
  • Revise proposals on monitoring web usage

BBC home affairs reporter Steve Swann says: The coalition replaced controversial Control Orders used to monitor terror suspects with less restrictive Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPims). But civil liberties groups complain they are still draconian while Labour argues they are too weak, citing the recent absconding of a terror suspect on a TPim. The Government has made some progress on deporting foreigners viewed as a threat to national security. But successful efforts to get bilateral agreements with a handful of countries promising to respect the human rights of deportees have been overshadowed by the continued failure to remove Abu Qatada to Jordan.

NHS

Surgeons
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • Increase health spending above inflation every year
  • "Stop the top-down reorganisations of the NHS"
  • Axe a number of health quangos
  • Cut administration costs by a third
  • GPs to gain role in health service commissioning
  • Directly elected members of primary care trust boards
  • Patients to be able to choose GP and rate services
  • Dementia research to be prioritised
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • Health budget increased in real terms in 2011-12, and set to increase every subsequent year
  • Transition of commissioning of health services to GP-led groups under way
  • Pilot schemes set up in which patients can choose GPS
  • Reduced early preventable death from cancer
Where it accepts it has missed targets:
  • The audit is silent on whether there was a real-terms increase in 2010-11
  • Since primary care trusts were swiftly abolished, their boards never contained a directly elected element
  • Plans to "develop a 24/7 urgent care service in every area of England, including GP out-of-hours services" appear to have been dropped
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Changes amount to "biggest top-down reorganisation of the NHS in its history"
  • Reforms will cost £3bn and increase bureaucracy
  • NHS spending cut "two years running" and £1bn spent on redundancies
  • 7,000 nursing jobs cut since 2010
  • Number of patients facing long waits in A&E has doubled
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Increase the health budget in real terms
  • Abolish strategic health authorities and primary care trusts from April 2013
  • Establish health and well-being boards
  • Invest up to £300m over five years in specialised housing for people in need of care
  • Introduce a new bowel screening programme
  • Regularly check that doctors are fit to carry out their duties

BBC health correspondent Nick Triggle says: In many ways the government's handling of the NHS is a case study in how not to make policy. In opposition the Tories promised no more reorganisation, only to announce one of the biggest overhauls of the health service in its history within months of gaining power. That would have probably been fine if the changes had been wanted by those working in the NHS. But they weren't. In the end the reforms were pushed through and now the focus of NHS staff is back on the day job - treating patients and trying to keep the NHS afloat in the tough economic climate.

PENSIONS AND OLDER PEOPLE

Pensioners by seaside
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • State pension to rise each year by the highest of earnings, prices and 2.5%
  • Phase out default retirement age and raise state pension
  • Compensate Equitable Life policy holders
  • Protect winter fuel allowances, free TV licences, free bus travel, and free eye tests and prescriptions for older people
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • "Triple lock" plan on state pension now in place
  • State pension age to increase to 66 by 2020 and 68 by 2028
  • Age-related universal benefits protected
  • Default retirement age abolished
  • Payments to Equitable Life policy holders have begun
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Winter fuel allowances being cut
  • Pensioners will lose out after tax changes
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Expand automatic enrolment in workplace pensions
  • Reform public sector pensions
  • Carry through planned changes to state pension age
  • Continue to protect age-related universal benefits
  • Increase incentives for pension savings

BBC political reporter Justin Parkinson says: The coalition says its changes to the system, including raising the retirement age for men and women, are aimed at making the pensions system "sustainable". The "triple lock" guarantee for increases in payments gets top billing in this section of the audit. The protection of benefits like the winter fuel allowance is vaunted. But there are increasing signs that the universal element of age-related benefits will be targeted after the next election.

POLITICAL REFORM

Palace of Westminster
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • Fixed-term Parliaments of five years
  • Cut number of MPs and make constituencies more equal in size
  • Referendum on AV
  • Power of recall over MPs
  • Committee to bring forward proposals for an elected House of Lords
  • Commons reforms to go ahead, including introduction of backbench business committee
  • Move to individual voter registration
  • Number of special advisers to be capped
  • Reform MPs' pensions
  • Petitions with over 100,000 signatures to be eligible for parliamentary debate
  • More public consultation on legislation
  • Council tax payers to be given right to veto "excessive" increases
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • Fixed-term Parliaments now in place
  • AV referendum confirmed support for status quo
  • Process of establishing individual voter registration under way
  • Agreement on ending male primogeniture in royal succession rules and allowing heirs to the throne to marry Catholics
  • Reforms have improved working of Commons
  • Significant decentralisation of power to local authorities
  • E-petitions website live and debates ensuing
  • Council tax referendums now possible
Where it accepts it has missed targets:
  • A pledge that "we will fund" postal primaries in 200 constituencies has disappeared; ministers are "considering the available policy options"
  • Power of recall over MPs was to be an "early" move, but the coalition is still considering the detail of the plans
  • Residents were to have been able to instigate local referendums on any local topic, but this move was abandoned
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Lords reform failed
  • Boundary changes and cut to number of MPs "faltering"
  • 100 new peers created, costing more than predicted savings from smaller Commons
  • Special advisers increased in number after proposed cap ditched
  • Government yet to "clean up" lobbying
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Persevere with statutory register of lobbyists
  • Pursue agreement on party funding reform
  • Legislate for power to recall MPs
  • Introduce individual electoral registration by 2015
  • Campaign for Scotland to remain within the UK
  • Devolve more powers to Welsh Assembly
  • Consider devolving corporation tax powers to Northern Ireland Assembly
  • Hold Commons vote on boundary changes

BBC political reporter Justin Parkinson says: The coalition programme for constitutional reform has been one of the most radical seen. So it is not for the want of trying that this was probably the most unpleasant section of the audit to write. Ministers have to admit to the impasse between Tory backbenchers and the government which scuppered plans for Lords reform. The slow development of other changes, like the power to "recall" errant MPs, is also addressed. But the introduction of fixed-term parliaments is given prominence, while the AV referendum was held as promised.

SCHOOLS

Exam hall
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • Shake-up of state school system to allow "new providers" to start schools
  • Additional funding for schools with poorer pupils
  • Help schools to reward good teachers and tackle underperformers
  • Anonymity for "teachers accused by pupils"
  • Increased flexibility in the exam system
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • 80 new "free schools" opened and a further 102 due to open in 2013
  • 60% of schools have already become academies or are converting
  • The "pupil premium" means that schools receive £623 per pupil on free school meals
  • Simplified Ofsted school ratings
  • Creation of English Baccalaureate
  • Strengthen right of teachers to impose discipline
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • GCSE system has been in "chaos"
  • New curriculum too "narrow", failing to equip young people for job market
  • Government responsible for "biggest cut to education funding since the 1950s"
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Pupil premium to increase to £900 per pupil by 2014
  • Extra funding to help 11-year-olds with maths and English
  • Funding for a further 100 free schools and academies
  • GCSEs to be replaced by English Baccalaureate
  • "Restore the reputation" of A-levels
  • Performance-related pay scales for teachers
  • Expansion of parental choice in special needs education
  • Train 2,000 exceptional graduates as teachers by 2016

BBC education correspondent Sean Coughlan says: The promise of new providers and greater school autonomy has seen the emergence of dozens of free schools, with numbers set to rise. These are part of a wider shift away from local authority control of schools, which has seen a majority of secondary schools become academies. The targeting of school funding at deprived children - the pupil premium - has been implemented against a background of tightening budgets.

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