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.

SOCIAL ACTION

A woman uses an ATM
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • Support the creation and expansion of mutuals, co-operatives, charities and social enterprises
  • Public sector workers to form co-operatives and take over delivery of services
  • Encourage volunteering and charitable giving
  • Introduce National Citizen Service
  • Found a Big Society bank to finance local charities and social enterprises
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • "Big Society Capital" in place, funded by high street banks and money from dormant accounts
  • More than 8,400 people have taken part in a pilot of the National Citizen Service
  • 12,000 ATMs now enable people to donate to charity while withdrawing cash
  • Charities now able to claim Gift Aid-style payments on small cash donations
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Big Society policy "mired in confusion", having been relaunched five times
  • Changes to tax relief on charitable given - which were abandoned - would have had "serious" detrimental impact on charities
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • 5,000 community organisers to be recruited in deprived communities
  • Expand the ATM charitable giving scheme
  • Publish consultation on encouraging workplace payroll donations
  • Gift Aid to be simplified through use of online claims

BBC political reporter Justin Parkinson says: While it has faced criticism from charities for "glacially slow" progress, David Cameron's Big Society project is deemed to be doing well, with the audit saying thousands of hours of community service have been completed, charity donations encouraged and £400m from dormant accounts going to help projects. The promise to allow mutuals and co-operatives more involvement in running public services is described as being at a more provisional stage.

SOCIAL CARE AND DISABILITY

Elderly people at a day centre in Hertfordshire
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • Commission to report on long-term care
  • Direct payments for carers
  • Disabled people to be able to apply for jobs with funding secured for new equipment, if required
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • Support in principle for Dilnot Commission on long-term care
  • More funding for adult social care
  • NHS funding to help carers receive breaks
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Funding for older people's care cut by £1.4bn
  • Delay over Dilnot review means no change before 2015
  • Insufficient provision of care in the community or at home, costing NHS hundreds of millions of pounds
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Consult on protecting services where providers fail
  • Make access to care more consistent
  • Universal deferred payments scheme to ensure no-one has to sell their homes to fund care
  • Enshrine in law entitlement to personal care budget

BBC health correspondent Nick Triggle says: The coalition said it was making reform of social care a priority when it came to power - just as Tony Blair did when he took up office. The only difference is that it looks like they might follow through. For the past 18 months the focus has been on introducing a cap on the costs the elderly face for home help and care home places. At the moment all but the poorest face unlimited costs. It now seems likely a cap of £75,000 over a lifetime will be set. This is much higher than what an independent review proposed, but campaigners are just grateful reform looks like it will finally happen.

TAXATION

Treasury building, Whitehall
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • Increase income tax threshold to help low- and middle-income earners
  • Lib Dems to be allowed to abstain on tax breaks for married couples
  • Tackle tax avoidance
  • Move flight duty from per-passenger to per-plane
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • Lower tax for low- and middle-income households
  • More tax relief for entrepreneurs
  • Higher taxes on the wealthiest, e.g. higher stamp duty on expensive homes
  • £1bn invested in tax avoidance
Where it accepts it's missed targets:
  • Plane duty not changed because of "legal and feasibility" problems
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Highest earners benefiting from reduction in top rate of income tax
  • VAT has been hiked to 20%
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • Further increase the income tax threshold to £10,000 in stages
  • Introduce a general anti-abuse rule in the 2013 Finance Bill
  • Anti-tax avoidance and evasion measures to raise an extra £2bn a year
  • More than £5bn extra tax to be raised from Swiss bank account holders liable for UK tax

BBC personal finance reporter Kevin Peachey says: This is a topic that has shot to the top of the political agenda, owing to celebrity tax avoidance and public protest. Arguably, the most significant move by the government is a plan to introduce a general anti-abuse rule this year. This would allow HM Revenue and Customs to act quickly against tax schemes that might be legal, but are contrived simply to allow people to avoid paying up.

TRANSPORT

Train passing through Kent
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • National recharging network for electric cars
  • Promote private sector investment in rail infrastructure by granting longer franchises
  • Create high-speed rail network in stages
  • Promote cycling and walking
  • Curb rogue wheel clampers
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • Significant expansion of road network
  • Biggest investment in railways since Victorian times
Where it accepts it has missed targets:
  • Car-charging only in "lead places"
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Train fares hiked by up to 9.2% this year
  • At least £40m wasted on West Coast rail franchise "fiasco"
  • Network Rail bosses paid "huge" bonuses
  • Local government funding cuts resulting in fewer bus services
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • South Wales Valley railways to be electrified
  • Build western rail link to Heathrow
  • Increase capacity on commuter routes
  • Bring forward legislation for High Speed Two rail link
  • Accelerate road building - upgrading the A1 and the M3
  • Support Crossrail and Thameslink projects in London
  • Support Commission examining airport capacity in south-east of England

BBC political reporter Justin Parkinson says: Ministers assert their determination to get High Speed 2 completed and say the London Crossrail project is well under way. Commuters - who have just suffered above inflation fare rises - may not be that impressed to read that its promise to create "fairer" rail pricing is still being considered with a report expected this year. They are remind drivers that they have ended central government funding for speed cameras and set up a law against rogue clampers.

UNIVERSITIES AND FURTHER EDUCATION

Graduates at Oxford University
Original coalition agreement pledges:
  • Support internships and apprenticeships
  • Free colleges from state control
  • Allow Lib Dems to abstain if they do not accept findings of university funding review
What coalition says it's achieved:
  • University system secure thanks to increase in tuition fees
  • More financial support for poorer students
  • Almost a million apprenticeships created
  • Investment in science and research
Labour's verdict on coalition so far:
  • Higher fees regime to cost taxpayer up to £1bn more than previous system
  • Abolition of Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) hitting poorer students
  • Further and higher education funding from central government "slashed"
Coalition's mid-term 'to do' list:
  • More freedom for universities to attract highly qualified students
  • Universities required to publish performance indicators like student satisfaction
  • Implement Wolf reforms to vocational qualifications
  • Reduce number of further education qualifications
  • Introduce Advanced Learning Loans in August
  • £920m in extra investment for UK science research infrastructure

BBC education correspondent Sean Coughlan says: "Increase social mobility, take into account the impact on student debt, ensure a properly funded university sector…" These were the aims against which university funding changes were going to be tested. And it ended up with Nick Clegg singing I'm Sorry on YouTube. But the report sets out the radical scale of change beyond £9,000 fees. A shake-up in the student loan system, creating a market in places, funding courses through fees, encouraging a consumer culture among students and switching more higher education into further education.

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