The first thing I want to say is Congratulations Ben Gummer on his re-election and appointment to junior Health Minister. Well deserved.
And also to Conservatives across the land for Team2015 and our resounding success. We have another 5 years to repair the damage done by Labour and I think that is a fair and reasonable time in which to show the electorate that their faith in David Cameron and his team were worthy of the trust.
Its important to remember the promises that were made. I found on my canvassing journey that many things people said Cameron had promised, he actually hadn't, so I for one want to lay it out clear here
LGiU have usefully set out details and a summary of that is here - I want to share it so that we can keep track and measure those promises. A couple of years down the line and we will forget some of it:
They set out here the key commitments of most relevance to local government made by the Conservatives in their manifesto and during the election campaign.
Briefing in full
Economy and work
- Eliminate the deficit: reduce government spending by one per cent each year in real terms for first two financial years – further £30 billion in fiscal consolidation through
- £13 billion from departmental savings
- £12 billion from welfare savings
- £5 billion from tackling tax evasion
- In second phase, starting in 2018-19, move into surplus in both fiscal mandate and the current budget
- Introduce a law guaranteeing no rise in VAT, national insurance contributions or income tax
- Increasing the minimum wage to £6.70 by the autumn and to £8 by the end of the decade
- Support Living wage and encourage employers to pay it
- Replacing Jobseeker’s Allowance for 18-21 year-olds with a Youth Allowance time-limited to six months. After that, they will have to take an apprenticeship, traineeship or do community work to claim benefits
- Requiring 40% of those entitled to take part in strike ballots to vote for a strike before industrial action can be held
- Requiring companies with more than 250 employees to publish their gender pay gap – the difference between average pay for male and female employees
- Give those who work for a big company and the public sector a new workplace entitlement to volunteering leave for three days a year, on full pay.
Devolution and local government
- Strengthen and improve devolution for each part of the United Kingdom in a way that accepts that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Implement the Smith Commission and St David’s Day Agreement or equivalent changes in the rest of the UK, including English votes for English laws
- Change parliamentary procedures so that the detail of legislation affecting only England or England and Wales will be considered by a Committee drawn in proportion to party strength in England or England and Wales
- Add a new stage to how English legislation is passed; no bill or part of a bill relating only to England would be able to pass to its Third Reading and become law without being approved through a legislative consent motion by a Grand Committee made up of all English MPs, or all English and Welsh MPs
- Extend the principle of English consent to financial matters such as how spending is distributed within England and to taxation including an English rate of Income Tax when the equivalent decisions have been devolved to Scotland
- Retain the Barnett Formula as the basis for determining the grant to cover that part of the Scottish Parliament’s budget not funded by tax revenues raised in Scotland
- A new Scotland Bill will be in the first Queen’s Speech and will be introduced in the first session of a new Parliament.
- Devolve far-reaching powers over economic development, transport and social care to large cities which choose to have elected mayors
- Cambridgeshire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire East pilot allowing councils to retain 100% of growth in business rates
- Further powers over skills spending and planning to the Mayor of London
- Deliver more bespoke Growth Deals with local councils
- Legislate to deliver the deal for Greater Manchester, which will devolve powers and budgets and lead to the creation of a directly elected mayor for Greater Manchester.
- Review of business rates to report by 2016 Budget
- Encourage councils to help manage public land and buildings, and will give authorities at least a 10 per cent stake in public sector land sales in their area
- Strengthen the Community Right to Bid – extend the length of time communities have to purchase these assets, and require owners to set a clear ‘reserve’ price for the community to aim for when bidding
- Set up a Pub Loan Fund to enable community groups to obtain small loans to pay for feasibility work, lawyers’ fees, or materials for refurbishment, where they have bid to run the pub as part of our reforms to the Community Asset Register
- Encourage voluntary integration of services and administration between and within councils
- In Cambridgeshire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire East, allow local councils to retain 100 per cent of growth in business rates.
- Save £12 bn extra from welfare budget
- Cut household benefit cap to £23,000 (with exemptions for those receiving Disability Living Allowance or the Personal Independence Payment)
- New law so that Personal Allowance automatically rises in line with the national minimum wage
- Freeze working age benefits for two years from April 2016 (exemptions for disability and pensioner benefits).
- Retain the reduction in HB subsidy
- Negotiating new EU rules so people will have to be earning in the UK for four years before they can claim tax credits and child benefits
- Review how best to support those suffering from long-term yet treatable conditions, such as drug or alcohol addiction or obesity, back into work. People who might benefit from treatment should get the medical help they need and if they refuse a recommended treatment, review whether their benefits should be reduced.
Housing and Planning
- Extend Help to Buy to cover another 120,000 homes
- Construction of 200,000 new starter homes sold at 20% below the asking price to first-time buyers under 40
- New Help to Buy ISA
- Extend right to buy to housing association tenants, funding replacement of properties by requiring local authorities to mange their housing assets more efficiently, with most expensive properties sold off and replaced as they fall vacant. Tenants will be able to apply once they have rented their housing association property for three years.
- Fund Housing Zones to transform brownfield sites into new housing (funded from council house sales)
- Increase the inheritance tax threshold on family homes to £1m by 2017
- Aim at least to double the number of custom-built and self-built homes by 2020,
- A new Right to Build, requiring councils to allocate land to local people to build or commission their own home
- Offer 10,000 new homes to rent at below market rates, to help people save for a deposit
- Let local people have more say on local planning and let them vote on local issues
- Create a new London Land Commission, with a mandate to identify and release all surplus brownfield land owned by the public sector.
Infrastructure, procurement and transport
- Secure the delivery of superfast broadband in urban and rural areas to provide coverage to 95 per cent of the UK by the end of 2017
- Raise the target for SMEs’ share of central government procurement to one-third, strengthen the Prompt Payment Code and ensure that all major government suppliers sign up
- Invest over £100 billion in infrastructure over the next Parliament
- Upgrade the A1, M62, M1 and A555 link road, improve connections to the South West with major investment in the M5, A358, A30 and A303, upgrade key roads like the A11 and A4
- Invest £5.2 billion in better transport, upgrading the M1 and M6, putting the Midlands at the centre of a modern, inter-connected transport network for the UK
- Add 1,300 extra lane miles to our roads, improve over 60 problem junctions, and continue to provide enough funding to fix around 18 million potholes nationwide between 2015 and 2021
- Double the number of journeys made by bicycle and invest over £200 million to make cycling safer
- Build High Speed 2 – the new North-South railway linking up London with the West Midlands, Leeds and Manchester – and develop High Speed 3 to join up the North.
Health and social care
- Provide seven-day-a-week access to NHS services
- Signed up to NHS Forward View and increase NHS spending to £8bn a year by 2020
- Continue to integrate the health and social care systems, joining up services between homes, clinics and hospitals and pilot new approaches like the Greater Manchester one and the Better Care Fund.
- Tackle health tourism and recover up to £500 million from migrants who use the NHS by the middle of the next Parliament
- Deliver the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020
- Support commissioners to combine better health and social care services for the terminally ill so that more people are able to die in a place of their choice
- Ensure that there are therapists in every part of the country providing treatment for those who need mental health treatment
- Increase funding for mental health care.
- Halt new public subsidies for onshore windfarms
- A free vote to repeal the ban on hunting with dogs
- Support low-cost measures on energy efficiency, with the goal of insulating a million more homes over the next five years
- Ensure that every home and business in the country has a Smart Meter by 2020
- Launch a programme of pocket parks – small areas of inviting public space where people can enjoy relief from the hustle and bustle of city streets
- Create a Sovereign Wealth Fund for the North of England, so that the shale gas resources of the North are used to invest in the future of the North
- Review the case for higher Fixed Penalty Notices for littering and allow councils to tackle small-scale fly-tipping through Fixed Penalties rather than costly prosecutions.
Criminal Justice and Rights
- Abolish Human Rights Act and replace with British Bill of Rights
- Retain Police and Crime Commissioners
- Action on Islamic extremists
- Police reform to continue with a commitment to keep people with mental health problems out of police cells, a pledge to boost police diversity and mandatory action to scale back untargeted police stop and search operations.