Page last updated at 11:30 GMT, Friday, 21 May 2010 12:30 UK

Policy-by-policy: The coalition government's plans

The Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition has published its programme for government. Here are the key details, with some analysis from the BBC's political research unit.


Banking system to be reformed, with banking levy introduced.

"Robust action" to tackle "unacceptable bonuses". Plans to ensure flow of funds to small businesses. Independent commission to look at separating retail and investment parts of banks. Joining the euro during this Parliament ruled out.

Policies outlined in this section are largely amalgamations of both parties' pledges, though there were differences in the detail of their individual plans to tackle "unacceptable" bonuses. The Conservatives had previously totally ruled out joining the euro, the Lib Dems pledge to consider joining under the "right conditions" is unlikely to have caused problems between the parties given ongoing eurozone problems.


Sunset clauses on regulation, to ensure regular reviews. Promise to "find a practical way to make small business rate relief automatic". Tax system reformed to simplify reliefs and allowances. Creating "most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20". Creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships to replace Regional Development Agencies - may take form of existing RDAs where they are popular. Competitiveness of UK tourism industry to be improved.

Sunset clauses on regulation is a Lib Dem policy and both parties backed reform of small business rates. Simplification of reliefs and allowances is a partial adoption of Conservative position, with an added Lib Dem element of tackling tax avoidance. The replacement of Regional Development Agencies is an amalgamation of both parties' positions.


Introduce a Freedom Bill. Scrap ID cards, the National Identity register and the ContactPoint database, and halt the next generation of biometric passports. Outlaw finger-printing of children at school without parental permission. Extend scope of Freedom of Information Act. More protections for DNA database. Protect trial by jury and restore rights to non-violent protest. Review libel laws to protect freedom of speech. Safeguards against misuse of anti-terrorism legislation. Regulate CCTV. Mechanism to prevent the proliferation of "unnecessary" new criminal offences. Establish commission to look at creating British Bill of Rights, incorporating and building on obligations under European Convention on Human Rights.

Most significant here is the British Bill of Rights. The Conservatives wanted it to replace the Human Rights Act [HRA], while the Liberal Democrats wanted it in addition. The Conservatives were however always committed to remaining within the European Court of Human Rights, so the Liberal Democrats have perhaps given ground by not securing a commitment to keep the HRA in the coalition agreement.


Freeze council tax in England for at least one year, and seek to freeze it for a further year. Create directly elected mayors in 12 largest English cities. Give councils powers to stop "garden grabbing". Give neighbourhoods more powers over planning. Abolish the Government Office for London and consider case for abolishing remaining government offices. Ensure courts have power to insist home repossession is always a last resort. Stop restructuring of councils in Norfolk, Suffolk and Devon and stop plans to force regionalisation of fire service. Review effectiveness of raising stamp duty threshold for first-time buyers.

Review of stamp duty threshold is a retreat from the Conservative pledge to permanently abolish stamp duty for nine out of 10 first-time buyers by raising the threshold. Freeze on council tax for one year alters a Conservative pledge for no increases for two years.


Ban excessive interest rates on credit and store cards. Introduce seven-day "cooling-off period" for store cards. Make credit card companies provide better information to customers in "uniform electronic format that will allow consumers to find out whether they are receiving the best deal". Measures to end "unfair" bank charges. Enhance customer service in private and public sectors. Introduce honesty in food labelling. Household energy bills to provide information on how to move to cheapest tariff offered by supplier, and show energy usage compared to similar households. Give Post Office Card account holders chance to benefit from direct debit discounts.

Curbing excessive card interest rates was pledged by both parties as was limiting supermarket power. Adopting tougher consumer protection was a Lib Dem manifesto commitment.


Amend health and safety laws to ensure "common sense policing". Make police more accountable through oversight by a directly elected individual. Police to publish detailed local crime statistics every month. Hospitals to share non-confidential information with police so they know where gun and knife crime is happening. Greater legal protection to prevent crime and apprehend criminals. Ensure people have protection needed when they defend themselves against intruders. Ban sale of alcohol below cost price. Allow councils and police to shut down permanently any shop or bar found to be persistently selling alcohol to children. Double maximum fine for under-age alcohol sales to £20,000. Better recording of hate crimes against disabled, homosexual and transgender people. Temporary bans on new "legal highs", while health issues are considered by independent experts. Review Extradition Act - and US-UK extradition treaty - to make sure even-handed.

Review of health and safety with regard to policing was a Conservative commitment. The oversight arrangement is a watering down of the Conservative position. The Conservatives wanted an elected "commissioner" to set policing priorities. Curbs on alcohol sales are a Conservative idea, while the better recording of hate crimes was a Lib Dem manifesto pledge.


Maintain independent BBC. Keep free entry to national museums and galleries. Support England's 2018 World Cup bid. Stop "wasteful" spending by National Lottery. Set up annual "Olympics-style" school sports event. Ensure fast roll-out of superfast broadband - possibly using part of licence fee set aside for switchover to digital TV.

The Lib Dems made a pledge to maintain the BBC's independence in their manifesto while the NAO proposal is a Conservative one. Support for the 2018 World Cup bid and an annual Olympics style event for schools are both Conservative pledges. The aim to maintain free entry to museums is from the Lib Dems, while both parties pledged to ensure swift delivery of superfast broadband.


Maintain nuclear deterrent, but scrutinise renewal of Trident for value for money. Cut Ministry of Defence costs by at least a quarter. Ensure service personnel get more rest and provide support for ex-personnel to go to university. More support for veterans' mental health needs. Review rules on awarding medals.

The Conservatives want to keep Trident, but the caveat on value for money is a concession to their Lib Dem partners who want to scrap it.


Main burden of deficit reduction to be tackled by spending cuts, rather than tax rises. Stop rise in National Insurance. Cuts of £6bn to "non-frontline services" in 2010/11. Full Spending Review this autumn. Reduce spending on Child Tax Fund and tax credits for higher earners. Cut quangos.

Both partners committed to cuts in their initial agreement, but the plan for the coalition to "significantly accelerate" their imposition is a significant concession by the Lib Dems who had supported Labour's slower timetable.


Abolish Home Information Packs, but retain energy certificates for house sales. Urge EU to cut emissions by 30% from 1990 levels by 2020. Lib Dems will be able to maintain opposition to nuclear power, even though building more stations is backed by Conservatives. Lib Dem spokesman will speak against the policy and MPs will abstain in parliamentary vote. Nuclear power will not be confidence issue for government. No third runway at Heathrow and no permission for extra runways at Gatwick and Stansted. Air passenger duty replaced with per-flight duty. Ofgem to establish security guarantee for energy supplies. Offshore grid for wind power.

The proposals on nuclear power are a clear compromise and it is hard to tell how this will play out. Plans for an offshore wind grid and security guarantees for energy supplies are from the Conservatives. Per-flight duty is a Lib Dem proposal. Both parties agreed on the ruling out of a third runway for Heathrow.


Free vote for Commons "to express its view" on repeal of Hunting Act. National tree-planting campaign. Improve flood defences. Work towards "zero-waste economy", encouraging councils to pay people to recycle. Badger control in areas with high levels of TB in cows. Raise standards of farm animal welfare. Irresponsible owners of dangerous dogs to be targeted.

The proposal for a free vote on the Hunting Act is the adoption of the Conservative position, but slightly watered down.


Promote equal pay. Extend right to request flexible working. Public sector pay review to prevent highest paid earning more than 20 times the salary of the lowest paid. Stop deportation of asylum seekers who had to leave home countries because of intimidation over sexual orientation. Make sure UK civil partnerships recognised abroad.

Conservative policy pledges largely dominate, though both parties backed extending the right to request flexible working.


UK not to join, or prepare to join, euro during this parliament. No further transfer of sovereignty over next parliament. Any future treaty transferring powers must be subject to UK referendum. Look at creating UK Sovereignty Bill. Press for European Parliament to meet only in Brussels - currently sits some of time in Strasbourg. UK will not take part in setting up European Public Prosecutor. Backing for further EU enlargement.

Plans to examine a "UK sovereignty bill" is a retreat from the Conservative manifesto pledge: "We will introduce a United Kingdom Sovereignty Bill". The Conservatives propose this Bill as a basis for a written constitution, which the Liberal Democrats support. Rejection of joining the euro during this parliament is an amalgamation of both parties' positions, though probably not a tricky one to achieve given current economic conditions. Ending European parliament meetings in Strasbourg is a Lib Dem pledge.


Will reveal plans to "reduce the couple penalty" in tax credit system. Sure Start providers to be paid, in part, according to results achieved. Crackdown on irresponsible advertising and steps to stop commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood. Better access to children for non-resident parents and grandparents when couples split up.

Plans to "reduce" the couple penalty in the tax credit system are a watering down of the original Conservative promise to "end" it. Similarly, plans to impose a performance-pay link for Sure Start providers will now just be "investigated".


Seek "special relationship" with India and closer engagement with China, while "standing firm" over human rights. Maintain "strong, close and frank relationship" with US. Support permanent seats for Japan, India, Brazil - along with African representation - on UN Security Council.

The desire for closer relations with China and India is a Conservative policy and the "frank relationship" with the United States pledge is taken verbatim from their manifesto. The Lib Dems are also long term advocates of security council reform.


Councils to publish details of items of spending above £500 and minutes of meetings. Salaries and expenses of highest-paid public sector workers to go online. Any public sector worker paid more than prime minister must have salary signed off by Treasury. Statutory register of lobbyists. Pursue cross-party agreement on limiting political donations.

Regulation of lobbyists is a Lib Dem policy, but their proposal for an outright cap on political donations has been supplanted by a less direct Conservative plan to seek "agreement" between political parties. A requirement for councils to publish their minutes is a new policy, but fitting with the spirit of a pledge from the Conservative manifesto to "make politics more transparent".


Annual limit on non-EU economic migrants admitted to UK. Speed up asylum system. End detention of children for immigration purposes.

A cap on non-EU immigration was a Conservative policy attacked by the Lib Dems during the election. The Lib Dems' "amnesty" for illegal immigrants appears to have been dropped. Ending detention of children was a Lib Dem pledge.


Honour commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income on overseas aid from 2013 - and pass commitment into law. "More integrated approach" to post-conflict reconstruction. Support reform of World Bank and International Monetary Fund to help developing nations.

Much here is Conservative policy or similar to Lib Dem thinking. Position on World Bank and IMF is Lib Dem policy.


End all existing welfare-to-work schemes, creating single new programme. Ensure Job Seeker's Allowance claimants aged under 25 referred to new programme within six months. Re-assess all Incapacity Benefit claimants for readiness to work - those deemed capable of work to be moved on to Jobseeker's Allowance. Work for Yourself scheme, to help start-up businesses with loans and advice from mentors. Support the national minimum wage.

Conservative policy takes precedent here. The Lib Dems had sought to extend the minimum wage to 16 year olds, but this has not become a coalition policy.


Anonymity in rape cases to be extended to defendants. "Rehabilitation revolution" - paying independent providers whose schemes reduce reoffending. Full review of sentencing. Deductions to be made from prisoners' earnings, with money going to victims' funds. Historical convictions for consensual gay sex for over-16s to be treated as spent and removed from criminal records. Neighbourhood "restorative justice" to deal with anti-social behaviour and low-level crime.

Anonymity for defendants is a new pledge though both parties have advocated this in the past. Rehabilitation measure is a Conservative policy though the Lib Dems have long advocated a focus on this. The review is a fudge of the two parties' position on sentencing.


Deport foreign nationals who threaten security, where guaranteed they will not be tortured - extend these guarantees to more countries. Review Control Orders and seek practical way to use intercept evidence in court. Ban organisations espousing or inciting hatred.

The plan to "review" control orders is a dilution of a Lib Dem pledge to scrap them, as is the step back from their proposal to "allow" intercept evidence to be used in court. The Lib Dems pledged in their manifesto to "end deportations of refugees to countries where they face persecution, imprisonment, torture or execution" which is - just about - consistent with the new position.


Promote peace and stability in Northern Ireland and bring it "back into the mainstream of UK politics". Government paper on changing corporation tax rate in NI. Implement Calman Commission proposals and hold referendum on further Welsh devolution. Review control and use of accumulated and future revenues from Fossil Fuel Levy in Scotland.

Plans to bring Northern Ireland "back into the mainstream" of UK politics was a specific Conservative policy pledge. The referendum on further Welsh Devolution is a merging of the two parties' positions, with the Conservatives saying they would not stand in its way while the Lib Dems more actively back the transfer of extra powers to Cardiff. The plan to "review" control of revenues from the Fossil Fuel levy represents a watering down of the Lib Dem proposal to simply press ahead with reform.


Health spending to increase in real terms. Develop 24-hour urgent care across England, including GP out-of-hours services. Patients to register with any GP they want, regardless of where they live. Stop "centrally dictated" closure of A&E and maternity wards. Create Cancer Drugs Fund to enable access to treatments deemed necessary by doctors. Review National Institute for Clinical Excellence to bring in "value-based pricing" for drugs and treatment. Dentistry contract to increase access to NHS treatment. Give £10m a year from 2011 to children's hospices.

The parties' views on overall NHS aims and ethos broadly concur, although the Lib Dems had opposed the pledge to increase real term spending on cost grounds. The opposition to the centrally dictated closure of A&E and Maternity units is a Conservative pledge. The independent NHS board proposal is a flagship Conservative policy and was not designed to work alongside the strengthening of local PCT boards, which is a Lib Dem proposal. It will be interesting to see how these sit alongside each other.


Phase out default retirement age and look at when it should start to rise to 66 - will not happen sooner than 2016 for men and 2020 for women. "Triple guarantee" that basic state pension to rise by whichever higher of average earnings increase, price inflation or 2.5%, from next year. Review of long-term affordability of public pensions, but protecting accrued rights. End rules requiring compulsory annuitisation at age 75. Protect winter fuel allowance, free TV licences, free bus travel, free eye tests and free prescriptions for elderly.

Phasing out the retirement age is an amalgamation of both parties' proposals, although the Conservatives had suggested it just should be looked at as a possibility. Protecting the winter fuel allowance was a key Conservative pledge. The "triple guarantee" over pension increases was a Lib Dem pledge.


Established fixed-term, five-year parliaments. Ensure 55% of MPs needed to back dissolution of Parliament. Bring in referendum on voting reform. Give voters power of recall, forcing by-election where MP found to have done wrong and petition signed by 10% of constituents. Committee to look at wholly or partially elected Lords - to come up with draft motion by December. Speed up voter registration. Stop MPs accused of serious wrongdoing using parliamentary privilege as a defence. Fund 200 all-postal primaries for parliamentary seats which have not changed hands in many years. Ensure petitions with more than 100,000 signatures eligible for full debate in Parliament - petition with most signatures will allow public to table a bill. Introduce "public reading" stage when bills go through Parliament, with public comments debated by committees handling the legislation. Details of every UK project receiving more than £25,000 from EU to be published.

Fixed-term parliaments is the adoption of the Liberal Democrat position; David Cameron previously said that there are advantages to fixed term parliaments but was concerned about unresolved issues.


Post Office will not be privatised, with post offices allowed to offer "wide range of services". No new regulation unless existing regulations cut by "a greater amount". Will seek private investment in the Royal Mail - although does not say whether or not the plan is for a full sell-off of the postal service.

Both parties were committed to seeking private investment in Royal Mail. The Lib Dems made a commitment in their manifesto and the Conservatives had also said they would press ahead with such a move. Plans to allow post offices to increase their remit is a fudge of the Lib Dem position; their manifesto had promised to introduce a "PostBank".


Give GPs greater incentives to tackle public health problems. Improve access to preventative care in deprived areas.

GP incentives have been supported by both parties while efforts to improve access to care in deprived areas was previously a part of the Conservatives' Sure Start Health Visitor scheme.


New providers to enter state system in response to parental demand. Parents, teachers, charities and communities to get powers to set up schools. Establish "premium" to fund help for disadvantaged pupils, paid for by spending reductions elsewhere. Enable more faith schools to be set up, with "inclusive admissions policies". Anonymity to teachers accused by pupils of wrongdoing. League tables to be reformed, to show progress of pupils of all abilities. Prevent unnecessary closure of special schools. Better vocational training for teenagers. Review of how national tests for 11-year-olds work.

The 'free schools' system is a flagship Conservative policy not in the earlier coalition agreement but included in the policy programme document. The guarantee of "inclusive admissions" may be a result of pressure from the Lib Dems to prevent middle class parents opting out of comprehensive schooling.


National Citizens Service for 16-year-olds. Dormant bank account funds to go into Big Society Bank. Public sector workers to get right to form employee-owned co-operatives. National "social action" day.

Conservative policies largely dominate this area. The Liberal Democrats might be disappointed that their proposal to reform the "process of criminal record checking so that volunteers need only one record that is portable" has not been adopted specifically.


Commission on long-term care to report within a year. Direct payments to carers.

The delay of a year in assessing reforms to long-term care is a retreat from the firm proposals on a home protection scheme set out by the Conservatives.


Increase personal income tax allowance to £10,000. Capital gains tax rates to rise to a level "similar or close to those applied to income". Review of taxation of non-domiciled.

Reform of personal income tax allowance is a partial adoption of Liberal Democrat position; David Cameron had said this was a "beautiful policy" but unaffordable. Lib Dems may be discouraged by the description of this as a "longer term policy objective". The review of "non-doms" taxation is a compromise of both parties' positions; the Conservatives had proposed a £25,000 flat rate annual levy on all non-doms [as opposed to the present £30,000 tax on those here for seven years out of ten] while the Lib Dems had said everyone who had been non-dom for seven years or more should "become subject to tax on all offshore income in the same way as domiciled British citizens."


Introduce system of HGV road user charges to ensure "fairer arrangement" for UK hauliers. National recharging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Establish high-speed rail network and support Crossrail and more electrification of network. Rail franchises to last for longer. Stop central government funding for fixed speed cameras.

The Conservatives campaign pledge to incentivise the creation of a recharging network by private industry has been uprated to become a plan to "mandate" the scheme. Both parties supported high speed rail. HGV road user charges is a new policy not mentioned in either party's manifesto.


Create more university places - but number not stipulated. Higher education funding policy awaits the outcome of a review by Lord Browne. Colleges to be "free" from direct state control. Abolish "many" further education quangos. Publish information on costs, graduate earnings and "student satisfaction" of university courses.

On fees, the Conservatives pledged to await a review of high education funding. The Lib Dems had pledged to abolish tuition fees within six years. Dropping the policy altogether would be a major concession that would upset many of the Lib Dem left. If the Lib Dems do not like the government's response to Lord Browne's report, arrangements have been made to enable Lib Dem MPs to abstain on any vote. Both parties proposed reform of education quangos but setting colleges "free" is a Conservative manifesto pledge. Greater transparency on costs and earnings is a new policy but unlikely to be contentious for either party.

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