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Daily and Sunday Politics manifesto tracker: Economy


Welcome to the Daily and Sunday Politics manifesto tracker. As the name suggests, it tracks the progress the government is making - or not - in achieving the promises made by the Conservatives in their 2015 general election manifesto and major policy announcements.

The traffic light scorecard above shows the current status of all of the policies. The tracker will be updated over the course of this parliament.

The tracker has been broken down into policy areas, which can be explored by clicking on each of the links below.

Manifesto tracker by theme

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This section deals with the economy.


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Work to eliminate child poverty and introduce better measures to drive real change in children's lives

- Manifesto, page 28

  • The Life Chances Act has replaced the Child Poverty Act and introduces new statutory life chances measures of children's educational attainment and children in workless households
  • The Department for Work and Pensions published statistics for 2014-15 in June 2016 showing a rise of 2% in the number of children living in relative low income households. The percentage of children living in absolute low income remained unchanged at 17%
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Britain to become the most prosperous major economy in the world by the 2030s

- Manifesto, page 8

  • George Osborne set out this ambition in a speech in January 2015. It is understood to mean Britain becoming the richest country in the G7 in terms of GDP per capita. Using this measure, according to the IMF, Britain was the 5th largest economy in the world in 2015

Eliminate the deficit entirely and start running a surplus in 2018-19

- Manifesto, page 9

  • In the 2015 Summer Budget the date for the government to reach surplus was pushed back to 2019-20. The Charter for Budget Responsibility passed in October 2015, binding the government to eliminate the deficit by 2018-19 and reach a surplus by 2019-20. At the March 2016 Budget, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast a surplus of £10.4bn in 2019-20
  • New Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed a change of policy during her first appearance at Prime Minister's Questions in July 2016. She said that the government will not be targeting a budget surplus by the end of this parliament, following the EU referendum.
  • The chancellor has said the government will monitor the economy as we approach the 2016 Autumn Statement, before setting out fiscal plans once the OBR has published an updated forecast
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Find £13bn from departmental savings

- Manifesto, page 8

  • The Spending Review announced £12bn of savings to government departments - £1bn less than planned because of "improvements to the forecasts since Summer Budget 2015"
  • In the March 2016 Budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced a further £3.5bn of savings from departmental spending in 2019-20
  • The Treasury has launched an efficiency review across all departments which will report to the chancellor ahead of the 2016 Autumn Statement

Raise at least £5bn from continuing to tackle tax evasion, and aggressive tax avoidance and tax planning

- Manifesto, page 8

  • The Summer Budget 2015 announced extra investment of £800m between now and 2020 for HMRC's work on evasion and non-compliance
  • The government claims that its package of measures to tackle avoidance, aggressive tax planning, evasion, non-compliance and imbalances will contribute a cumulative £19bn by 2020-21 and £5bn a year by 2019-20

Find £12bn from welfare savings

- Manifesto, page 8

  • Chancellor George Osborne announced £12bn of welfare savings in his November 2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement. These were legislated for in the Welfare Reform and Work Act which received Royal Assent in March 2016
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Continue to control government spending in 2018-19, no longer cutting it in real terms, but instead growing it in line with inflation. From 2019-20, after a surplus has been achieved, spending will grow in line with GDP

- Manifesto, page 9

  • The Charter for Budget Responsibility passed in October 2015, binding the government to eliminate the deficit by 2018-19 and reach a surplus by 2019-20
  • The OBR currently forecasts a surplus of £10.4bn in 2019-20 however these forecasts will be updated ahead of the 2016 Autumn Statement, when Chancellor Philip Hammond will announce his economic plans

A new fundamental principle of fiscal policy, monitored by the independent OBR, will ensure that in normal economic times, when the economy is growing, the government will always run a surplus

- Manifesto, page 9

  • Parliament approved the Charter for Budget Responsibility in October 2015

Treble our successful Start Up Loans programme during the next Parliament so that 75,000 entrepreneurs get the chance to borrow money to set up their own business

- Manifesto, page 19

  • The Start Up Loans Company was established in 2012 with £330m of government funding. The government announced at the end of August 2016 that £250m has been lent to over 40,000 companies since 2012

Roll-out 'Help to Grow' scheme

- Manifesto, page 11

  • In May 2016 Lloyds Banking Group was announced as the delivery partner for the first £30m of lending supported by Help to Grow. This initial phase is expected to support around £200m of lending over its first two years
  • According to the government the British Business Bank is exploring other delivery partners for the next phase of the scheme
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Create another two million jobs over the next Parliament

- Manifesto, page 17

  • According to the latest ONS statistics, there were 31.7 million people in work in the three months to May 2016, 176,000 more than for the three months to February 2016 and 624,000 more than for a year earlier
  • At the time of the March 2016 Budget, the OBR forecast that employment will grow by one million over the course of this parliament

Abolish long-term youth unemployment

- Manifesto, page 17

  • 102,000 people aged 16-24 had been unemployed for more than 12 months at March-May 2016, down 10,000 on the previous quarter and down 53,000 on the previous year. 16.6% of unemployed 16-24 year olds had been unemployed for more than 12 months

What's happening in the UK economy?

Aim to be number one in Europe and in the top five worldwide in the World Bank's Doing Business rankings by 2020

- Manifesto, page 17

  • According to the 2016 rankings the UK is at number two in Europe, behind Denmark and number six worldwide

Aim to achieve full employment in the UK

- Manifesto, page 18

  • The government has not defined full employment, but William Beveridge, the architect of our welfare state, defined it as a workforce that was 3% unemployed. The most recent Labour market statistics put the unemployment rate at 4.9% for April to June 2016. This is the lowest rate since July to September 2005 and down from 5.6% for the same period last year
  • The ONS employment rate - the proportion of working-age people in work - shows 74.5% of those aged 16-64 were in work in April to June 2016, the highest since comparable records began in 1971
image copyrightReuters

Aim to achieve the highest employment rate in the G7

- Manifesto, page 18

  • In the first quarter of 2016, the UK had the third highest employment rate (73.3%) in the G7, behind Germany (74.4%) and Japan (74%)

A new workplace entitlement to Volunteering Leave for three days a year, on full pay

- Manifesto, page 45

  • The government has said it will publish proposals in due course

Use fines imposed on Deutsche Bank for its involvement in rigging interest rates to fund 50,000 apprenticeships

- David Cameron speaking on 28 April 2015

  • In answer to parliamentary questions, the government has said that the Department for Business' "spending review settlement for apprenticeships reflects the government's commitment regarding the proceeds of the Libor fine the Financial Conduct Authority announced in April 2015" but so far no specific announcement has been made
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The state pension will rise to £7,000 by the end of the Parliament

- David Cameron speaking on 2 May 2015

  • Under current forecasts the state pension will rise to £7,000 a year under the pensions "triple lock"

Finish the process of ring-fencing banks' high street branches from their investment arms by 2019 at the latest

- Manifesto, page 9

  • This is taking place due to legislation introduced by the previous government. The Prudential Regulation Authority has published a two-part consultation on ring-fencing. The consultation is due to close in October with subsequent rules to be published by the end of 2016

Continue to sell the government's stakes in the bailed-out banks and building societies

- Manifesto, page 9

  • The government raised £2.1 billion with an initial sale of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) shares in August 2015. The OBR expects the government to raise a further £21.5bn from RBS share sales between 2016-17 and 2020-21
  • The chancellor announced in October 2015 that the government would sell its remaining 12% stake in Lloyds Banking Group to the general public from Spring 2016 but the sale was postponed in January 2016 because of turbulence in the financial markets. In the March 2016 Budget, the government said it is committed to launching a retail sale of Lloyds Banking Group in 2016-17
  • Both sell-offs were then delayed in the wake of the referendum vote to leave the EU
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Keep the bank levy in place

- Manifesto, page 9

  • The bank levy remains in place but the Treasury has said it will be cut from its current 0.21% to 0.1% in 2021, by which time it would apply to banks' UK balance sheets only

Continue the funding for lending scheme into 2016

- Manifesto, page 11

  • Has been extended until January 2018

Make it a crime if companies fail to put in place measures to stop economic crime, such as tax evasion

- Manifesto, page 11

  • HMRC launched a consultation to consider draft legislation and guidance for the new corporate criminal offence of failure to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion in April 2016. The consultation closed in July 2016 and legislation is scheduled for introduction to Parliament later this year

Have 100,000 more UK companies exporting in 2020 than in 2010 and reach target of £1 trillion in exports

- Manifesto, page 19

  • To be assessed in 2020 but the most recent set of forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility predict the cash value of total exports of goods and services will reach £643 billion in 2020, lower than forecast in November and 36 per cent lower than the government's aspiration

The gender pay gap is the lowest on record, but we want to reduce it further

- Manifesto, page 19

  • According to figures from the ONS, in April 2015 the gender pay gap for median earnings of full-time employees decreased to 9.4%, from 9.6% in 2014. For all employees it stands at 19.2% (19.2% in 2014; 22.0% in 2009). This is the lowest since the survey began in 1997, although the gap has changed relatively little over the last four years

Require companies with more than 250 employees to publish the difference between the average pay of their male and female employees

- Manifesto, page 19

  • Regulations requiring companies with more than 250 employees to publish gender pay data annually will commence in October 2016. The publication must include an analysis of the difference in bonus payments made to male and female employees
image copyrightScience Photo Library

Aim to halve the disability employment gap

- Manifesto, page 19

  • More than 3.2 million disabled people are now in work and the number of disabled people in work increased by 152,000 in the last year. However, at the end of 2015, the employment rate among disabled people stood at 46.7%, compared with 80.3% for non-disabled people. To halve this gap would require bringing an extra 1.2 million disabled people into work
  • The Department for Work and Pensions will publish a Work and Health green paper later in 2016

Accept the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission that the National Minimum Wage should rise to £6.70 this autumn, on course for a Minimum Wage that will be over £8 by the end of the decade

- Manifesto, page 21

  • In the Summer Budget 2015 George Osborne announced the introduction of a 'National Living Wage'. It was introduced on 1 April 2016 starting at £7.20 and is set to rise to £9 an hour by 2020

Support the Living Wage and continue to encourage businesses and other organisations to pay it whenever they can afford it

- Manifesto, page 21

  • In the Summer Budget 2015 George Osborne announced the introduction of a 'National Living Wage' starting at £7.20 in April 2016 and rising to £9 an hour by 2020. The Living Wage Foundation calculates that the current 'Living Wage' rate is £8.25 an hour or £9.40 in London

Cut government waste; plan a further £10bn annual savings by 2017-18 and £15-20bn in 2019-20

- Manifesto, page 47

  • Savings were outlined in the 2015 Spending Review and March 2016 Budget. The government says it is on course to deliver on this pledge
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