A bumper list of 100 Coalition achievements
By Harry Phibbs
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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.
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.
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.