I can’t claim this is a scientific exercise but I’ve been through the coalition agreement this week to work out which promises have already been junked – or are not making great headway.
To be fair, the vast majority of the document is still on track, but there are notable exceptions. The promises which aren’t exactly on track include:
1] A plan to fund 200 all-postal election “primaries” to bring fresh talent into the House of Commons
2] A plan to replace air passenger duty with a “per flight duty”, a more environmentally friendly proposition that meant fewer aircraft flying half-empty.
3] A ban on the sale of alcohol below cost. (Instead, there has been a ban on charging less than the tax on the drink.)
4] A “limit on the number of special advisers”. (This has grown steadily to 74 – fewer than the 78 under Gordon Brown before the general election but more than the 68 with which he entered Downing Street in 2007.)
5] The agreement said the coalition would “stop the top-down reorganisations of the NHS that have got in the way of patient care”. It is a promise that, many believe, has been forgotten in Andrew Lansley’s overhaul of the health service.
6] An “aspiration” that 25 per cent of government contracts should go to small and medium enterprises remains just that.
7] Plans to “inject” private capital into the Royal Mail have been enshrined in legislation but have not been enacted.
8] A voluntary register of lobbyists has been set up by an industry group but this falls short of a promised “statutory register”. A consultation will follow, with legislation possible in the next parliamentary year.
9] House of Lords reform is likely to be killed off by Tory backbenchers (and ministers).
10] Protection for whistleblowers in the public sector. There has been no obvious progress on this promise.
11] The agreement said councils would pay people to recycle and that communities hosting renewable energy projects would keep additional business rates; neither have occurred.
12] The coalition promised public sector investment in carbon capture and storage technology for four coal-fired power stations. So far money has only been set aside for one.