Policies of Britain's new coalition government
Britain's new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government was agreed after five days of wrangling and both sides have had to compromise to draw up a programme of policies.
A document setting out the terms of the power-sharing deal was expected Wednesday but media reports suggested the following areas of agreement:
ECONOMY AND TAX
- Immediate public spending cuts to tackle the budget deficit. The Liberal Democrats had wanted to wait until 2011 before beginning cuts but Conservative plans for six billion pounds of savings this financial year won through.
- Scrap a planned rise in National Insurance, a payroll tax. The Conservatives had dubbed this the "jobs tax" and said it would hamper growth.
- Reduce the tax burden on low-earners as a priority. The new coalition has the long-term goal of achieving the Lib Dem promise to raise the income tax allowance to 10,000 pounds a year.
- Emergency budget within 50 days.
- Inheritance and property taxes. Conservative plans to cut inheritance tax have been sacrificed, a big step as this was seen as a key Tory election pledge, but Lib Dem plans for a "mansion" tax on larger homes have also gone.
- Marriage will be recognised in the tax system with 150-pound tax break. The Lib Dems will be able to abstain when the policy, dismissed by Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg as "patronising drivel", is voted through parliament.
- No plans to join the eurozone -- one of the Lib Dems' long-term pledges -- and any further transfer of powers to Europe must be approved in a referendum, a key Conservative demand.
HOME AFFAIRS AND DEFENCE
- Annual cap on non-European Union immigration. The Lib Dems have agreed to this flagship Conservative policy and also abandoned their pledge for an amnesty for long-standing illegal immigrants.
- Nuclear defence: the Lib Dems have dropped their opposition to renewing the Trident nuclear deterrent.
- Scrapping identity cards: a policy both sides agree on.
- Changing school funding to target disadvantaged children.
- Five-year, fixed-term parliaments, with the next election due in May 2015. Previously the prime minister could call an election at any time up to a maximum of five years after the last.
- Referendum on introducing the alternative vote system, seen as key to the agreement of the Liberal Democrats, who have been demanding electoral reform for decades. Conservative lawmakers would be free to campaign against.
- An elected House of Lords, completing the reforms to the upper chamber of parliament that Labour began a decade ago.
© 2010 AFP