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Manifesto

Thank you for contacting me about the aspects of the Conservative Party Manifesto that the Government has already implemented.

From the very start of negotiations to form a Coalition Government, it was made clear that both parties had to respect the verdict of the electorate and work together to find solutions to the profound issues facing our nation.  Coalition does, by definition, involve compromise.  However, within two years of taking office, we have already implemented many dozens of Conservative Party manifesto policies. 

We wasted no time on the most important of these – restoring the credibility of the British economy – while the Labour Party continues to advocate plans which would damage business and employment opportunities and burden future generations with debt.  There have been many other successes. From helping councils to freeze council tax and restoring the earnings link to pensions, to setting firm immigration limits and scrapping costly ID cards, the Government has been quick to deliver Conservative Party policies.  The level of change, and its speed, should not be underestimated.

I have included a list of some of the manifesto policies that are already in place. It is by no means exhaustive. I can assure you that we will continue to deliver Conservative manifesto policies as long as this Government remains in power.

More than anything else at this point in our history, Britain needs strong, stable and decisive government.  This is something that we have secured and which, as you can see, has given us a platform to implement the policies that we fought for at the General Election.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Conservative manifesto Polices Already Implemented

• Brought Britain out of the financial danger zone.  The Chancellor has set out plans in the Emergency Budget, Spending Review, and the 2011 Budget which have restored Britain’s financial credibility.

• Control over Immigration. Economic migration from outside the EU has been capped, student visas reformed to tackle abuse and automatic settlement is being prevented.  There are compulsory English language tests and tough new rules for family visas.  There has been a crackdown on sham marriages and a new English language requirement for people coming to the UK on spouse and partner visas has also been introduced.

• Scrapped ID cards. The Government has scrapped ID cards.

• Council Tax frozen. This Government has already scrapped Labour’s council tax revaluation, is helping freeze council tax for two years, and via the Localism Act, will allow residents to veto excessive rises in the future.

• Restored the earnings link to pensions. The earnings link to pensions has been re-introduced along with a triple lock to guarantee rises in the Basic State Pension of the higher of earnings, prices or 2.5 per cent.

• Universal Benefits for Pensioners. The Government has confirmed that it will keep universal benefits for pensioners.

• Cut in fuel duty. Ministers have abolished Labour’s fuel escalator, cut fuel duty by 1 penny last year, scrapped January’s rise and introduced a fair fuel stabiliser. The effect of these means fuel duty will be 10p lower than it would have otherwise been under Labour by the end of this year.

• Committed to renewing the Trident nuclear deterrent. In the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the Government announced that we ‘will maintain a continuous submarine-based deterrent and begin the work of replacing existing submarines.

• Passing of a Sovereignty Act. Many people in Britain feel disconnected with how the EU has developed, and with the decisions that have been taken in their name. By rolling out control on these decisions to the people, this Coalition Government believes we can help rebuild trust and reconnect people to these EU decisions. A strong, positive and active UK role in the European Union will also contribute to this objective.

• Make work Pay. The Government is introducing the Universal Credit which will replace the current complex system of means-tested benefit, meaning it will pay to go into work, rather than stay on benefits.

• Reduced fuel bills for the poorest pensioners. The Warm Homes Discount, launched in April, will give the most vulnerable pensioners automatic annual rebates of at least £120 off their electricity bills.

• Legislated to allow the conversion of all schools into Academies and new free schools. The creation of a world-class school system where every parent has access to a good school and all pupils receive a high standard of education has been enabled. The Academies Act gives schools the freedoms and flexibilities to continue to drive up standards.

• Ministers’ pay cut. Within days of taking up office, the Government announced that Government Ministers would be taking a 5 per cent pay cut.

• Quangos. The Public Bodies Bill is bringing about the largest scale changes to the quango landscape in a generation.

• Transparency in local authority pay. Local Authority pay policies must be open to public scrutiny with senior pay packets put to a full council vote. The Localism Act requires local authority pay policies to be openly approved by democratically elected councillors.

• New Enterprise Allowance. The Government has introduced the New Enterprise Allowance to support would-be entrepreneurs.

• Corporation tax will be 23 per cent by 2014. This exceeds what was promised in the manifesto. To ensure that this is not a net tax cut for banks, the bank levy rate will be adjusted next year to offset its effect for those institutions.

• Created the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). The OBR is providing full and transparent forecasts on the public finances.

• Enterprise Finance Guarantee. £2 billion has been made available to viable small companies through the Enterprise Finance Guarantee over the next four years.

• Bank bonuses. The Financial Services Authority has implemented some of the toughest rules in the world on bonuses.

• Banking reform. The previous system of regulation did not work and the Government is putting the Bank of England back in charge, with a Financial Conduct Authority to regulate business conduct. The Government is implementing the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Banking with the aim of improving financial stability and competition.

• Lending to business: The Chancellor has announced a new National Loan Guarantee Scheme, which will allow banks to raise up to £20bn of funding to lend directly to smaller businesses at a lower cost than would otherwise be the case.

• Civil service compensation scheme. The Government reformed the Civil service compensation scheme to giving extra protection to the lower paid, while limiting payments for higher earners.

• Office of Tax Simplification created. A new Office of Tax Simplification has been established to help simplify the tax system.  The Government is now working to implement its recommendations.

• Doubled the Operational Allowance for the Armed Forces.  We have announced that the Operational Allowance would be doubled and backdated to 6 May 2010.

• National Security Council set up. The Government established a National Security Council and appointed the country’s first National Security Adviser in May 2010.

• A clarified strategy on Afghanistan. Our strategy on Afghanistan has been clarified, setting out our determination that we will succeed in creating a stable Afghanistan and that there will not be British troops in a combat role in Afghanistan by 2015.

• The Strategic Defence and Security Review published. The first in 12 years, this will ensure our mission in Afghanistan is protected and that we emerge with a coherent defence capability in 2020.

• Maximised service personnel’s rest and recuperation. Under new guidelines, all Service personnel serving tours in Afghanistan or Iraq of six months or longer will continue to receive two weeks’ mid-tour leave, but now with a guarantee that any days lost due to delays in transit or for any other operational reason will be made up at the end of their tour.

• Armed Forces Covenant. The Government has published ‘The Armed Forces Covenant’ and enshrined it in law. This sets out a range of measures across Government on how we will rebuild the covenant.

• Veteran mental health needs. The Government will provide extra support for veteran mental health needs, launching a veterans’ information service to provide support on health issues including mental health.

• Troops for Teachers. A new ‘Troops for Teachers’ programme has been created, to recruit ex-Service personnel into the teaching profession.

• Pupil Premiums for Service Children. The MoD has announced a Pupil Premium for Service children, and an additional fund of £3m per year to support state schools catering for significant numbers of Service children including children of Reservists.

• Further education scholarships for bereaved children. From April 2011, those bereaved since 1 January 1990 have been entitled to a scholarship that will pay for a maximum of three years in further education and the first undergraduate course in a UK higher education institution. Retrospective action will be taken for those who fit the criteria and started full-time education from September 2010.

• Introduced a Pupil Premium. £2.5 billion has been pledged towards a pupil premium, on top of the schools budget, to provide additional money for disadvantaged children and encourage good schools to take on pupils from poorer backgrounds.

• Reform of provision for those with Special Educational Needs. We have proposed changes which would mean the biggest programme of reform in the education and health support for children with SEN and disabilities in 30 years.

• The Government has brought all funding for early intervention and parenting support into one budget, the Early Intervention Grant. £2222 million (2011-12) and £2365 million (2012-13) is being allocated to local authorities in England. Subject to that local decision making, the EIG can support a full range of services for children, young people and families.

• The Education Act has been passed by Parliament which includes measures to tackle discipline. It makes it easier for teachers to deal with violent incidents and remove disruptive pupils or items from the classroom.

• Create 400,000 work pairing, apprenticeship, college and training places over two years. The Government has invested on over 100,000 apprenticeships and 100,000 work placements over the next year. Data for the full 2010/11 academic year shows that apprenticeships starts increased by over 60 per cent to 457,200, with increases across all age groups.

• Create a new all-age careers service so that everyone can access the advice they need. This new service will be operational by April 2012.

• Considered carefully the results of Lord Browne’s review into the future of higher education funding. The Government has introduced a progressive funding system that protects graduates on lower incomes and gives universities more incentives to be more student-focused in their approach.

• Provide 10,000 extra university places this year. The Government has used funding from the University Modernisation Fund to provide additional university places.

• Scrapped ContactPoint. ContactPoint, a database which held information on all the children in Britain, was switched off in August 2010.

• Investment in hi-tech industries. A £200 million investment in a network of elite Technology and Innovation Centres has been announced to drive growth in high-tech industries.

• Introducing nationwide superfast broadband. The Government is working on bringing superfast broadband to all parts of the UK and creating the best broadband network in Europe by 2015. Its ambition is to provide everyone in the UK with access to broadband speeds of at least 2MBps and superfast broadband should be available to 90% of people in each local authority.

• Tackling gang crime. The Government has published the cross-Departmental “Ending Gang and Youth Violence” report.  The report focuses on five key areas: prevention, pathways out, punishment, partnership working and providing support.

• Tackling knife crime. The Government is creating a new offence of aggravated knife possession, with a mandatory prison sentence of at least six months for adults and 16 and 17 year olds will face a mandatory four month Detention and Training Order.

• Overhauling the Licensing Act.  The Government has overhauled the Licensing Act to give local authorities and the police much stronger powers to remove licences from, or refuse to grant licences to, any premises that are causing problems.  It has legislated to allow councils and the police to shut down permanently any shop or bar found persistently selling alcohol to children.  The Government has doubled the maximum fine for under-age alcohol sales to £20,000; and permitted local councils to charge more for late night licences to pay for additional policing.

• Improving Policing. This Government has reduced the amount of paperwork that the police have to deal with.  It has returned charging discretion to the police for minor offences. It has legislated to replace the existing, invisible and unaccountable police authorities and make the police accountable to a directly-elected individual who will set policing priorities for local communities.

• Legal aid reform. The £2 billion plus system of legal aid is being overhauled, so that it is targeted at those who need it most, in the most serious cases, as well as providing value for money to the taxpayer.

• Implemented the Prisoner Earnings’ Act. The Government has implemented the Prisoner Earnings’ Act so that up to £1 million a year can be seized from prisoners’ pay packets and used to fund victim support services.

• Fighting back against legal highs. The Government will be able to quickly respond to new substances that emerge on the market by temporarily banning them for 12 months.

• Support for victims of sexual assault. £3.2 million is being invested to improve and expand Sexual Assault Referral Centres to help the victims of rape and domestic violence.

• Thousands of extra health visitors. 4,200 new health visitor positions are being created with a new improved training programme to benefit thousands of families.

• Funded breaks for carers. The Government is making £400 million available through the NHS over the next four years to support carers’ breaks.

• Guarantee the health spending increases in real terms in each year of Parliament. The Government is delivering real-term increases in the NHS budget of £12.5 billion extra every year by 2014.

• Reducing NHS administration costs. There are now nearly 4,000 more doctors and 5,600 fewer managers working in the NHS since the Election. Additionally the Government’s reform process has already delivered efficiencies - £4.3 billion of savings last year and £2.5 billion in the first half of this year.

• Cancer Drugs Fund. The Government’s £650 million Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) means that patients can get access to the cancer drugs they need. This fund has helped over 10,000 patients already.

• Independent NHS Board. The NHS Commissioning Board Authority, a special health authority and the shadow form of the NHS Commissioning Board (the Board), is now in operation.

• Dentistry contract. Three contract models are being piloted in 50 to 60 areas around the country. The three pilot models will be slightly different in order to provide information and evidence on different aspects of the proposals, which will then help inform the development of a new national contract.

• Transparency in top public sector pay.  Details of senior Civil Servants and senior staff in quangos with salaries over £150,000 which come out of the public purse are now published on a regular basis.

• Transparent accounts introduced. The Government has taken the unprecedented step of publishing the Combined Online Information System (COINS) database so everyone can see what is spent where.

• Reducing the number of MPs in Parliament.  We have passed the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act which will see the House of Commons reduced by 50 seats to 600.

• Implementing individual voter registration. The Government has published plans to implement Individual Electoral Registration (IER). The draft legislation and White paper on IER set out in detail the proposed new system of registration.

• Making Government more transparent. The Public Sector Transparency Board has been set up in the Cabinet Office to help embed the transparency agenda across government as a core part of all governmental business.

• Personalised support for mental health problems. £400 million to extend access to psychological therapies.

• Equalising constituency boundaries. The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act has led to the review of constituency boundaries which will create fewer and more equally sized constituencies.

• Departmental Business Plans. The Government has published and updated departmental business plans.

• Transparency of public accounts. The Government are publishing public accounts online so that people can scrutinise them and help to identify overspending.

• Transparency in public sector data. The Government are making as much public sector data as possible freely available to people. This open data agenda is being led by the release of a number of key datasets. These include names, grades, job titles and annual pay rates for most civil servants with salaries over £150,000; monthly crime statistics to be published online by the police at a street-by-street level; and hospitals to release weekly online data on MRSA and C-difficile infection rates.

• Increased the Child Tax Credit to support struggling families. The child element of the Child Tax Credit will be increased by £30 above indexation in 2011-12.

• Default Retirement Age (DRA) scrapped. The Government has confirmed that it will remove the Default Retirement Age so that people have more choice about when to stop working. Since 6 April 2011, employers have no longer been able to issue any notifications for compulsory retirement.

• All Incapacity Benefit claimants are being reassessed. The Government is reassessing all current claimants.

• Mandatory Work Activity. The Government has introduced regulations so that jobseekers will be given training to gain new skills or face having their benefits stopped if they refuse the offer of help.

• Helping people back to work. The Work Programme will harness the expertise of private and third sector specialists to provide personalised support for those with the greatest barriers to employment including the long term unemployed and disabled.

• The introduction of HGV road user charging.  The Government is working towards a new system of HGV road user charging to ensure a fairer arrangement for UK hauliers.

• Scrapped plans for a third runway at Heathrow and additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted. In addition, a day after entering power, the Government scrapped plans for a third runway at Heathrow.

• Strong investment in transport. We are delivering on our promise to reform the railways. There is £14 billion of funding for Network Rail to support maintenance and investment.

• Funding for rail electrification. £1 billion has been given to fund the electrification of the Great Western main line providing a quicker, greener rail service to Wales and the South West.

• Protecting bus passes. The Government has protected the concessionary bus pass scheme for pensioners.

• High Speed Rail: the Government has confirmed the route for the High Speed 2 line from London to Birmingham,

• Crossrail: Ministers are supporting Crossrail, the East to West London railway line.

• Electric vehicles: pledged £400 million funding to support low carbon and electric vehicles.

• HIPs scrapped. The Government has scrapped Home Information Packs to help the housing market.

• Garden grabbing stopped. The Government has changed the planning rules to give councils new powers to prevent unwanted garden grabbing by taking gardens out of the brownfield category that includes derelict factories and disused railway sidings.

• New Homes. The New Homes Bonus scheme has been introduced, which will match fund the additional council tax potential from increases in effective housing stock, with an additional amount for affordable homes, for the following six years. It will ensure that the economic benefits of housing growth are more visible to the local authorities and communities where growth takes place.

• First Buy Scheme. It was announced in the Budget that the Government is to make £250 million available for a new First Buy scheme to help first time buyers who are struggling to purchase a new home, due to requirements for a large deposit.

• National Planning Policy Framework. The simplified single National Planning Policy Framework has been consulted on and will be put in place soon.

• Regional Development Agencies abolished. The winding down of Regional Development Agencies will save £186 million. This move reflects our commitment to stop central government and regional quangos second-guessing the needs of local business, in ways that stifle initiative and entrepreneurship. We expect the eight RDAs to cease operations by March 2012.

• Building the Big Society. The Office for Civil Society is working across government departments to support voluntary organisations and is delivering a number of key Big Society programmes, including the National Citizen Service pilots, Community Organisers and the Community First fund.

• The Big Society Bank. The Government has committed to setting up a Big Society Bank to give social enterprises, charities and voluntary organisations access to greater resources. It will be set up using money from dormant bank accounts (those untouched for 15 years or more and available for spending in England) and will encourage investment in social change.

• Community organisers. Over the lifetime of this parliament, the Community Organisers programme will identify, train and support 5,000 people who want to make a difference to their community. The organisers will have strong understanding of local needs and will catalyse social action.

• National Citizens Service. Cabinet Office is running pilots for National Citizen Service, involving 30,000 young people.

• Improving gas security. We have introduced legislation to increase gas storage capacity to guarantee supplies throughout the year in the Energy Act.

• Action on flooding.  The Government has taken forward implementing the findings of the Pitt Review on flood management, including implementing the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and launched a consultation on our national flooding strategy.

• Green Deal. As part of the Energy Act every household in the UK will be offered energy efficiency improvements at no upfront cost.

• Carbon emissions reductions. Whitehall carbon emissions reduced by nearly 14 per cent, saving over 100,000 tonnes of CO2 and £13 million in energy bills.

• Electricity Market Reform. Electricity Market Reform provides a floor price for carbon and will deliver the right climate for investment in low-carbon energy production.

• More responsibility for the Scottish Parliament to raise the money it spends. The Government has passed the Scotland Act through the House of Commons which gives greater financial responsibility to the Scottish Government, which will give it greater financial accountability.

• Cut aid to countries that no longer need it. The Government has ended aid to countries like Russia and China and are refocusing funds on countries most in need.

• Spent aid effectively and transparently. The Government has introduced a new aid transparency guarantee so people can monitor how aid is spent, set up and independent aid watchdog to scrutinise aid spending and demanded that international organisations receiving UK taxpayers’ money become more transparent.

• Delivered on our commitment to the world’s poorest nations. The Government has set out a firm budget to achieve, by 2013, the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income as aid.

• Gave the British public a direct say. The Government launched a MyAid Fund, as set out in the manifesto, to give British people a direct say on aid spending. The scheme matches, pound for pound, donations that the public give to charity appeals focussed on international development causes.

• Established a Poverty Impact Fund. The fund, now renamed the Global Poverty Action Fund, supports innovative and effective groups who do not currently qualify for Government funding.