Monday, 7 January 2013

100 Coalition Achievements (Part 1)

Today David Cameron will launch the Coalitions half term review. Below are the first 50 of 100 achievements that the Conservative led government has delivered since May 2010...

1. 2,543 schools are now academies. In May 2010, there were just 203 academies, all of them failing schools required to become "sponsored" academies, and all of them secondary schools.
 
2. 200 of the country's worst primary schools had been turned into sponsored academies by the end of 2012. By the end of this year 400 of them will have been. In 2011, sponsored academy results improved by 27.7% - compared with 14.2% for state schools in general.
 
3. 79 free schools are open and a further 102 have been approved to open - mostly in September 2013.
 
4. There are 220 fewer Quangos than there were in May 2010. Quango spending has been cut by £17 billion. The savings on Quangos abolished altogether is £2.6 billion.
  • Within the Department of Communities and Local Government, the Tenants Service Authority, Standards Board, Infrastructure Planning Commission, Regional Assemblies have been scrapped, while the abolition of the Audit Commission is saving £650 million of taxpayers’ money over five years.
  • The abolition of Government Offices for the Regions is saving £420 million of taxpayers' money (from 2011 to 2015).
  • Other Quangos have had their budgets cut. Under Labour Quango's cost £46 billion annually - the comparable figure (excluding the £2 billion for the Legal Aid Fund in both cases) is now £29.2 billion.
5. The "right to buy" your council flat has been reinvigorated. The discount for council tenants has been boosted to as much as £75,000.
 
6. The Territorial Army is doubling in size from 15,000 to 30,000.
 
7. From April, people can earn £9,440 before paying income tax. Under Labour, this personal tax allowance stood at just £6,475. As a result, 24 million taxpayers have seen their income tax cut. Two million of the lowest paid have been taken out of paying tax altogether.  Those earning the minimum wage have seen their income tax halved.

8. From April 2013, the 50% top rate of tax will be cut to 45%. HMRC data reveals that in the first year of the 50% tax rate, tax revenues from the rich fell by £7 billion and the number of people declaring incomes over one million pounds fell by a half.
 
9. Corporation tax has been cut from 28% to 24% and is falling to 21% next year. This is the lowest rate of any major western economy.
 
10. Those who can work, but refuse to, are ceasing to receive welfare benefits. When invited to take part in a Work Programme there were 150,000 who stopped claiming benefits rather than participate. Of those who have taken part, 200,000 have been placed in jobs. Those who don’t find jobs via the Work Programme will go through a Community Work Programme where they work 30 hours a week for 26 weeks to contribute to their community. For claimants refusing to participate, benefits will be withdrawn for three months for the first offence, six months for the second, and three years for the third.
 
11. Over 400,000 more people are in work than in 2010. Over one million net new private sector jobs have been created. The unemployment rate is 7.8% down 0.5% on a year ago. This is during a time of rising unemployment in the Eurozone.
 
12. More children in care are being given the chance of adoption. The number of children in care rose under Labour from 51,490 in 1997 to 64,410 in 2010. The government are reversing the trend by allowing more children to come out of the care system and be adopted, having the opportunity of permanent loving homes. 3,450 children were adopted in 2011-12, an increase of 12% on the previous year. The scandal of children being kept in care in preference to transracial adoption is being outlawed.
 
13. Elected police and crime commissioners have brought in a new era of accountable policing.

14. Legal aid has been restricted. This is saving the taxpayer £350 million but also reducing unjustified, time wasting litigation, in matters such as health and safety, and welfare and immigration cases.

15. Home Information Packs, a bureaucratic impediment on the housing market, have been dropped.

16. Labour's £4.5 billion ID Cards has been abandoned. This is a clear message that the state should be the servant, not the master of the people.

17. An EU referendum lock gives some protection against further loss of sovereignty.

18. The earnings link has been restored for pensioners.

19. The operational allowance for the armed forces has doubled.

20. A New Enterprise Allowance scheme has helped 8,000 unemployed people set up their own businesses. Those with a viable business plan are helped with loans and mentors. It is being extended further to allow 70,000 dole claimants the chance to become entrepreneurs.

21. The National Citizen Service has been set up in partnership with groups like the Prince's Trust. Teenagers go on outward bound courses, talk to mentors about 'social action projects' in their communities, and then are helped to get on and accomplish those projects. Those taking part have the satisfaction of doing something enjoyable and positive - while participation will be an encouraging line for prospective employers to see on a CV. By next year 100,000 places will be available.  The International Citizen Service, which is funded by the Department for International Development, is another new global volunteer programme for young people.

22. The armed forces are being treated decently. The Service Pupil Premium has increased from £250 to £300 per pupil and will be extended to include all pupils whose parents have died in service since 2005. The principles of the Armed Forces Covenant have become law. The Government has quadrupled the council tax discount for forces on operations. The forces are getting the equipment they need for the job: the helicopters, protective kit, and armoured vehicles they have lacked in the past.

23. Immigration has been capped. The Government is making progress in cutting net immigration from the hundreds to the tens of thousands.

24. Freeing Libya. The UK played a key role in the overthrow of the Gaddafi dictatorship. Our military intervention averted a massacre in Benghazi and toppled an international criminal who gave Semtex to the IRA and was responsible for the shooting of a police officer in a London and the bombing of a plane over Lockerbie.
 
25.The Troubled Families Initiative. Work has started for 120,000 troubled families in England to turn their lives around by 2015. It involves dealing with each family’s problems as a whole and appointing a single key worker to help. Previously, endless over- and underlapping agencies have been involved ineffectively. Councils will be paid by results, as measured by getting children back into school, reducing youth crime and anti-social behaviour, putting adults on a path back to work, and reducing the high costs these families place on the public sector each year.
26. More Big Society volunteering. The number of volunteers helping in their local libraries is up from 17,550 in 2009/10 to 23,397 in 2011/12.  In 2010 there were 15,505 Special Constables. In 2011 there were 18,421. As of March 31st 2012 there were 20,343.

27. The Government is encouraging investment in shale gas - which offers tremendous opportunity for a reduction in energy prices.

28. For three years there have been incentives for local authorities to freeze (or cut) Council Tax. This has overwhelmingly been adopted. Where there have been increases these have been modest as no council has wanted to set them above a threshold that would trigger a referendum. (For 2013/14 the threshold will be any increase above 2%.)
 
29.The power of the state to inspect your dustbin has been abolished.
 
30. The Royal Mail is being privatised in a way that will increase employee share ownership.
 
31. The civil service is smaller than at any time since the Second World War. For example, there are plans for the Ministry of Defence to shrink by more than a third - losing 30,000 civil servants.
 
32. Councils that fail to provide weekly bin collections will face financial penalties. Already the decline in weekly bin collections has been halted. There is now the prospect of it being reversed.
 
33. In May 2010, over 18,000 people had waited over a year for NHS treatment. Now it is 4,317 people. The number waiting six months is down from 100,979 to 55,335.
 
34. MRSA infections are down 24.7% in NHS hospitals compared to the level under Labour.
 
35. Independent economic forecasting has been provided by the Office of Budgetary Responsibility.
 
36. The Drug and Alcohol Recovery "payment by results" pilot ceases rewarding providers for "inputs" (the numbers entering drug treatment, regardless of what then happens to them). Instead the payment is for outcomes achieved - full recovery, including completing treatment and not returning; reductions in re-offending and improved housing, health and wellbeing.
 
37.Police pay is rewarding performance. Constables will be able to move to the top of their pay scale quickly, sergeants will get a greater reward for stepping up from constable, and inspectors will be able to reach their rank more quickly.
 
38. The teaching of history in schools is being revived.
 
39. Council housing allocations can reward merit - those who work, serve in the armed forces, or make a community contribution can be prioritised.
 
40. Employee share ownership is being promoted with a voluntary scheme allowing new recruits to wave entitlements such as unfair dismissal / redundancy rights in return for shares.
 
41. The share of our money taken from us and spent by the state is falling.In the last year of the Labour Government, 2009-10, public expenditure as a percent of GDP was 47.8%. In 2011/12 it was 45.2%. The Office of Budgetary Responsibility projects that it will fall to 39.5% by 2017-18.
 
42. The New Homes Bonus has provided a local incentive for building property. It has also meant a reduction in the number of empty homes with 38,000 long-term empty properties brought back into use over the past two years.
 
43. The deficit has fallen by a quarter. The last year of Labour Government, 2009/10, showed borrowing at £159 billion. In 2011/12 £122 billion was borrowed.
44. Trade union membership in 2011 is down 143,000 on the previous year. From 26.6% of employees to 26%.

45. The UK has gone from 89th to 72nd in competitiveness for "burden of government regulation". Under Labour, the UK fell from 4th to 89th in terms of competitiveness for "burden of government regulation." (World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness.)46. Emigration from the UK is down.

47.  The income of charities rose from £54 billion in 2010 to £56 billion in 2011. The tax burden for charities is being cut. The Small Donations Bill provides a new system of top-up payments similar to Gift Aid for small cash donations to charities. For donations of less than £20, charities will be able to claim back 25p for every £1 collected in the UK, up to a limit of £5,000.
 
48. There is less red tape for police officers. The time saved on form filling amounts to 4.5 million police hours a year, the equivalent of 2,100 police officers on the streets. An array of box ticking police targets have been scrapped. Police led prosecutions have been extended to cover over half of all cases heard in a magistrate's court - this means less bureaucracy and delay than using the Crown Prosecution Service for straightforward cases.
 
49. Less red tape for teachers and headteachers.
  • The School Admissions Code has been cut from 138 pages to 61.
  • Health and Safety guidance to schools has been cut from 150 pages to eight, making school trips easier.
  • In total 5,000 pages of guidance to schools have been removed.
  • Teachers have more power to exclude disruptive pupils.
  • Heads have more power to remove incompetent teachers.
50. Less red tape for farmers. For example, the Agricultural Wages Board which duplicated minimum wage rules has been scrapped.
 
Hat Tip to the excellent Harry Phibbs over at ConHome for putting together the list. I will reblog the last 50 tomorrow.