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News story

A promising start

Friday, November 26 2010



  • Began to deal with Britain’s record deficit, starting this year. The Chancellor completed an in-year spending review to save £6 billion within days of taking office.
  • National Security Council created. The Government established a National Security Council and appointed a National Security Adviser for the first time in May.
  • The most damaging aspects of the jobs tax reversed. George Osborne announced an end to the most damaging aspect of Labour’s jobs tax just two weeks after entering Government.
  • ID cards scrapped. The bill to scrap ID cards was the first piece of legislation the Coalition introduced.
  • The conversion of any school into an academy or a new free school legislated for. 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 the Secretary of State the power to grant academy status to any school, alongside the freedoms and flexibilities that allow schools to drive up standards.
  • Third runway at Heathrow scrapped. A day after entering Government, the Coalition scrapped the third runway at Heathrow.
  • Ministers’ pay cut. David Cameron announced that Government ministers would be taking a 5 per cent pay cut.
  • Independent Office for Budget Responsibility created. Changing the way Budgets are written for good, the independent Office for Budget Responsibility was established.
  • HIPs scrapped. The Government scrapped Home Information Packs to help the housing market.


  • Britain brought back from the brink. The emergency Budget in June set out plans to eliminate the current structural deficit by 2015-16.
  • 880,000 of the lowest paid lifted out of tax altogether. The Chancellor announced that 880,000 of the lowest paid will be taken out of tax altogether by raising the personal allowance to £7,475 from 1 April.
  • Housing Benefit capped. The introduction of a maximum limit on housing benefit was announced. It will be capped at £250 a week for a one-bedroom property to £400 a week for a four-bedroom or larger.
  • Corporation tax cut. We have set out plans to cut corporation tax from 28 per cent to 24 per cent. This cut will give Britain the lowest rate of corporation tax in the G7 and moves towards the creation of the most competitive corporate tax system in the G20.
  • £2 billion help for viable small businesses. £2 billion has been made available to viable small companies in the Enterprise Finance Guarantee.
  • Bank Levy introduced. From January next year a levy will be imposed on the balance sheets of UK banks and building societies, and to the UK operations of banks from abroad. This is expected to generate around £2.5 billion of annual revenues by 2012-13. This levy will be a permanent source of income and represents the fair contribution that banks should make in respect of the potential risks they pose to the UK financial system and wider economy.
  • Operational Allowance for the Armed Forces doubled. David Cameron announced that the Operational Allowance, paid to service personnel for each day spent in the most demanding of conflicts, would be doubled and backdated to 6 May 2010.
  • Afghanistan strategy clarified. Our strategy on Afghanistan has been clarified, setting out our determination that we will succeed in creating a stable Afghanistan and there will not be British troops in a combat role in Afghanistan by 2015.
  • Earnings link to pensions restored. The earnings link to pensions will be re-introduced in April along with a triple lock to guarantee rises in the basic state pension of at least 2.5 per cent.
  • Interim cap on immigration set. An interim limit on non-EU economic migrants was set with a cap for 2011-12 decided on in November. A new English language requirement for people coming to the UK on spouse and partner visas has also been introduced.
  • Town halls made more transparent. Town halls are to publish their spending and contracts over £500 online by January next year. The Department for Communities and Local Government has taken the lead and published all its spending over £500.
  • Bin taxes scrapped. Ministers have dismissed 'pay as you throw' taxes because they would lead to more fly-tipping to dodge fines, saying people should be given incentives to recycle not punishments.
  • Garden grabbing stopped. Councils and communities are being given new powers to prevent the destructive practice of 'garden grabbing' and to decide what types of homes are suitable for their area.


  • Top public sector pay published. Details of senior Civil Servants and senior staff in quangos with salaries more than £150,000 which come out of the public purse are now published on a regular basis.
  • Police reforms set out. The Police White Paper was published, setting out plans to introduce directly-elected police and crime commissioners, set up a National Crime Agency, and cut police bureaucracy to get officers out onto the streets.
  • Office for Tax Simplification created. A new Office of Tax Simplification has been established to help simplify the tax system.
  • Family unit at Yarl’s Wood to be closed. Closure of the family unit at Yarl’s Wood agreed as first step towards ending child detention.
  • Building a special relationship with India. The Prime Minister called for a new special relationship with India, calling for a ‘stronger, wider, and deeper’ relationship. This came as he led a delegation of Government ministers and representatives of UK business, industry, sport and culture to India to promote increased trade and investment with the UK.


  • Ensuring efficiency. In an attempt to save money across government, Sir Philip Green was asked to lead an external efficiency review into government spending.
  • 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, until a fuller investigation by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs can be completed into whether they should be made illegal.
  • ContactPoint scrapped. ContactPoint, a database which held information on all the children in Britain, was switched off at noon on 6 August 2010.


  • Cracking down on the tax gap. £900 million has been announced to tackle tax avoidance, evasion and criminal attack. This will bring in extra tax revenue of £7 billion a year by 2014-15.
  • No council tax revaluations for the life of this parliament. The Government has pledged that council tax payers will not face unexpected hikes in payments. An independent Data Protection Audit of the Valuation Office Agency will take place to ensure privacy is protected when the agency assesses property.
  • Green Deal created. The Government’s overhaul of energy efficiency in homes and small businesses could create a quarter of a million jobs by 2030.


  • Strategic Defence and Security Review published. The first in twelve years, this will ensure our mission in Afghanistan is protected and that we emerge with a coherent defence capability in 2020.
  • Committment 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 its existing submarines’.
  • Benefit Cap announced. George Osborne announced a cap on benefits so that no family on out of work benefits will get more than the average family gets by going out to work. This will come into force by 2013 and will save hundreds of millions of pounds.
  • Pupil Premium to be introduced. £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.
  • 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.
  • Strong investment in Transport. Over £10 billion of funding has been given for national and local road networks and public transport schemes in Britain’s major cities, including major upgrades to relieve congestion on the M1, M60, M25 and many others. There will also be £14 billion of funding for Network Rail to support maintenance and investment, including major improvements on the East coast mainline.
  • Council Tax freeze for 2011-12. The Treasury has set aside an extra £650 million to help local authorities in England freeze their council tax next year, meaning local taxpayers living in an average Band D home in England could save up to £70.
  • Cancer Drugs Fund created. £200 million a year has been guaranteed to help cancer patients get greater access to cancer drugs that their doctors recommend.
  • £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund created. This will support areas of the country particularly dependent on the public sector to develop successful private enterprise and a sustainable local economy.
  • Investment for apprenticeships. £250 million extra spending for adult apprenticeships, providing up to an additional 75,000 apprenticeship places every year by the end of the Spending Review.
  • Child Tax Credit increased to support struggling families. The child element of the Child Tax Credit will be increased by £30 above indexation in 2011-12.
  • The Cold Weather Payment increased to £25. The Chancellor made permanent the last Government’s temporary increase to the Cold Weather payment in the Spending Review.
  • Ensuring affordable housing. £4.4 billion invested in new affordable housing which should deliver up to 150,000 homes over the next four years.
  • Thousands of extra health visitors created. 4,200 new health visitor positions are being created with a new improved training programme to benefit thousands of families.
  • Provision for super fast broadband. A £530 million investment to boost UK’s broadband infrastructure.
  • Investment in local infrastructure. £600 million of funding announced for local authority transport projects.
  • Effective aid ensured. A new Independent Commission for Aid Impact has been set up to assess all Oversees Development Aid spending to ensure the best value for money and effectiveness. This is on top of ending bilateral aid to China and Russia.


  • Making sure work pays. The Universal Credit will replace the current complex system of means-tested benefit, meaning it will pay to go into work, rather than stay on benefits.
  • Plans for progressive higher education funding, allowing our universities to thrive, announced. We will introduce a lower threshold of £6,000 and an upper cap of £9,000. Universities that wish to charge between £6,000 and £9,000 will have to do far more to attract students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Graduates will not make a contribution towards tuition costs until they are earning at least £21,000, up from the current £15,000. The repayment will be on 9% of income above £21,000, and all outstanding repayments will be written off after 30 years. This means all graduates will pay less per month than they do under the current system. Around a quarter of graduates, those with the lowest lifetime earnings, will pay less in total than under the current system.
  • Immigration capped. From next April, only 21,700 skilled and highly skilled workers from outside Europe will be allowed into the United Kingdom. Tougher standards will also make sure that foreign workers don’t end up in positions which could be filled by people already in the UK.
  • Education reforms announced. We set out plans to improve education standards by refocusing on basics, empowering teachers to maintain discipline in the classroom, recruiting the best teachers and cutting bureaucracy. These reforms are based on the best evidence of what works in the highest-performing education systems in the world and mark a decisive shift towards trusting teachers, public accountability, higher standards and better discipline.
  • Railways fit for the 21st century. The Thameslink project will go ahead in its entirety along with 650 further carriages to reduce overcrowding. In total this amounts to 2,100 new carriages which will help make our railways fit for the 21st century.
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