Tuesday, 8 January 2013

100 Coalition Achievements (Part 2)

Here is the second half looking back at what the Conservative-led government has achived since May 2010:

51. Less red tape for business. For example, increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims from one year to two years from next April means anyone taking on a new employee can now be confident that they have two years to get the relationship right, rather than just one, before they face being sued for unfair dismissal. For businesses with fewer than ten employees, a moratorium on new domestic regulation for three years has been introduced.
52. Less red tape for everyone. From this month the "one in, one out" rule is changed to "one in, two out." This excludes regulation imposed by the EU. So far 3,000 of the regulations examined will be scrapped or reduced after nominations from the Red Tape Challenge.
  • Lots of regulations are individually trivial, but cumulatively burdensome. People wanting to get married or register a civil partnership will be able to do so at any time of the day or night under the Protection of Freedoms Act. Couples were previously restricted to between 8am and 6pm.
  • Gambling rules had meant, for example, that it was against the law to employ anyone under 18 in any capacity or in any job on racecourse where betting takes place. Also you couldn't locate a fruit machine in an ‘airside bar’ at a British airport.
53. Reducing rent subsidies for the rich. There are 34,000 households with incomes of over £60,000 living in council houses.
54.  In 2010, 312,911 individuals in need of social care chose to have personal budgets. In 2011 it had increased 53% to 429,349. A legal right to a personal budget is being introduced.
55. Tax Transparency. From next year each tax return will show each taxpayer what their money is spent on. For example someone earning £25,000 spends the equivalent of £1,900 of their tax bill on welfare payments.
56. There are 10% fewer crimes each year than under Labour.

57. In December 2011 David Cameron vetoed an EU Treaty which would have meant a further loss of sovereignty.

58. Northern Rock has been privatised. The bank was sold to Virgin Money for £747 million. Under its new branding, new branches are opening, providing more choice. This is a first step to getting the state out of the banking business.
59. 24 Enterprise Zones have been created. These areas offer new businesses lower tax - with no business rates for five years and higher capital allowances as well as less planning bureaucracy.
60. The number of divorces in England and Wales in 2011 was 117,558, a decrease of 1.7% since 2010, when there were 119,589 divorces.
61.  Funding for new fixed speed cameras has ceased.
62. The £4 million Big Tree Plant has seen over 239,000 trees planted across the country with £3.4 million of the funding already allocated to 128 groups, who will ultimately be planting more than 813,000 trees.

63. Forcing someone to marry will become a criminal offence in England and Wales.

64. The law of self defence against burglars is being strengthened.
65. The Life in the United Kingdom citizenship test is being revised with sections dealing with claiming benefits and the Human Rights Act being scrapped. Instead there will be questions on Byron, the Duke of Wellington and Shakespeare.
66. 7,000 acres of surplus state-owned land is being sold to provide a 100,000 new homes. It is estimated the sale will raise £10 billion for taxpayers.
67. A greener Government.
  • Leading by example, the Government has reduced the carbon footprint from its own buildings by 14% on the level under Labour.
  • Compared to 2009/10 figures, in 2011/12 the Government has delivered a 12% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, estimated to save the taxpayer £40 million
  • A 36% reduction in domestic flights, already exceeding the Government’s target of 20% by 2015
  • A 5% reduction in waste, delivering £4.7million savings
  • A 24% cut in paper consumption, far exceeding the Government’s target of 10% with all departments reporting a reduction in paper use
  • A 3% fall in water consumption, saving the taxpayer £4.2 million
  • For example, HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) encourages customers to complete tax returns online.
  • Using text messages for alerts has contributed to a fall in paper use by 30 million sheets in 2011/12, saving £297,000 as well as cutting carbon associated with printing and distribution by 760 tons.
  • The Department for Energy and Climate Change has installed a dedicated 16kW chiller for its server room which had previously been cooled by two 60kW chillers, this is on track to save 80 to 90 tons of carbon per year compared to when Ed Miliband was running the Department.
68. Crime mapping has been introduced.
69. Fewer spin doctors. In the Department for Work and Pensions the press office has fallen from 301 staff in 2009-10 to 215 now. When Ed Miliband was Energy and Climate Change Secretary there were 43 DECC spin doctors - now it's 25.
70. Boosting the number of staff-led mutuals running public services to increase innovation, productivity, and customer satisfaction. The number of mutuals is six times higher than under Labour.
71. Social Impact Bonds allow private investment for a beneficial social outcome on a payments by results basis. A scheme in Peterborough Prison to reduce the reoffending rate shows very encouraging initial results. The Coalition is committed to expand these Bonds.
72. Open Government. The data.gov.uk website provides key information on transport, health, education, transport, crime and justice as well as Government spending.
73. Efficiency savings through renegotiating contracts, cutting back on spend on consultants and advertising is saving £8 billion.
74. Squatting has been criminalised.
75. Exports are up dramatically...
  • We’re selling tea to China, vodka to Poland and cheese to France.
  • There’s a baker in Dunstable selling naan bread to India, and we are selling coffee-makers to Italy.
  • A firm in Anglesey is selling canoes to the eskimos.
  • The UK now exports more cars than we import for the first time since 1976.
  • We have increased our exports to Brazil by 18%, to China by 21%, and to India by 34%.
  • We now export more to outside the EU than inside the EU.
  • Free trade with developing countries is being promoted which helps make poverty history as well as boosting exports.
  • The UK Government has backed free trade via the EU and the WTO and started the African Free Trade initiative.
76.  Public sector sickness absence was an average of 9.1 days per employee in 2011, a decrease of 0.5 day from 2010.
77. Greater rigour in school exams. Primary school pupils are no longer able to go into their maths exam with a calculator. GCSEs are ceasing to be based largely on course-work and modules - instead there is a shift to final exams.
78. The Troops to Teachers programme, which aims to increase the number of service leavers making the transition to teaching.
79. The planning system has been simplified. Planning rules have been reduced from over 1,000 pages of often impenetrable jargon into around 50 pages of clearly written guidance.
80. 100 new cadet units are being created based in English state funded schools by 2015 to help teach teamwork, discipline and essential life skills.Currently there are 324 cadet units in state schools across England.
81. The introduction of the Universal Credit will make sure that work really pays, replacing many out-of-work payments with a single, simple payment.It will be withdrawn at a constant rate, so that people know exactly how much better off they will be for every extra hour they work, to ensure that work always pays more than benefits. The poorest will be the biggest gainers.
82. Fairer disability benefits. Under Labour those claiming Disability Living Allowance increased from 2.5 million to 3.2 million. It was possible to get £130-a-week DLA simply by filling out a bit of paper while those with serious disabilities had to cope with complicated 38-page forms to fill in.
83. A £26,000 benefit cap is introduced. They’ll still, however, have more money than many of their neighbours who go out to work every day.
84. A right to bid has been created, giving community organisations a fairer chance to save assets of importance to them, such as their village shop or the last remaining pub in the village, their community centre, children’s centre, or community green spaces.

85. “One-click registration.” From April if you want to start a business there’ll be no more filling in endless forms, giving out the same information over and over again. You’ll be able to get online, set up your business and register for taxes – and see the taxes that you’ve paid and that you owe – all in one place.

86. A requirement for dole claimants to learn English. New rules means Jobcentre Plus advisers can mandate people with poor English skills, which are preventing them from getting into employment, to go on to free specialist English language training courses. If claimants refuse to attend any of the classes recommended to them, they could have their benefits stopped.
87. Expansion of the Teach First programme which takes top graduates and puts them straight in the classroom.
88. Superfast broadband availability increased faster than previously scheduled by easing bureaucratic delay in planning and traffic management.
89. The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were delivered under the budget projected in 2010. The funding was £476 million below the £9.298 billion budget. Under Labour costs grew out of control from the original £3 billion budget. (It's worth saying that the Games also went pretty well!!!).
90. A growth in credit unions. The Government are allowing credit unions to expand so that they can help one million more people. Credit unions are social enterprises that offer an alternative to loan sharks. The viability of credit unions is being assisted by an increase in the 2% monthly cap on interest rates.
91. Everyone leaving prison and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance benefits will be immediately referred on Day One to the Government’s Work Programme, where they will receive specialist support to get them into employment as quickly as possible.
92. The Fuel Duty rise, scheduled by the Labour Government, of 3.02 pence per litre on 1 August 2012, was scrapped.
93. The M4 bus lane has been scrapped and the lane returned to all motorists after analysis showed that journey times at peak periods would be reduced for car drivers and hauliers without significantly affecting vehicles currently allowed to use the lane.
94. Spending transparency. For Government departments all payments over £25,000 are published. For local councils all payments over £500. Increasingly lower thresholds are being applied and spending transparency is being extended across the public sector.
95. More electrification of the railways. In 13 years the Labour Government electrified just 10 miles of railway, the new Government is doing so for 850 miles. This will deliver new fleets of cleaner and more environmentally friendly trains and reduce the long-term costs of running the railways.
96. The Youth Contract has boosted apprenticeships to half a million a year, double the number under Labour. There were 279,700 apprenticeship starts in the 2009/10 academic year. In the 2011/12 academic year there were 502,540 apprenticeship starts.
97. Taxpayer funded trade union facility time will be restricted. Full time trade union officials will need special Ministerial approval.
98. 2.5 million people once on sickness benefit are being re-assessed and two thirds preparing or looking for work.
99. There are 124,000 fewer lone parents on inactive benefits than there were in 2010.
100. Traveller sites. Stop Notices will allow councils to issue unlimited fines for those who ignore planning rules and defy the law.

Hat Tip to ConservativeHome for compiling the list