David Cameron will today accuse Labour of lacking credibility. As we're on the subject, it's worth looking at the credibility of the PM when it comes to the three big pledges he made in 2010.
David Cameron will today accuse Labour of lacking credibility. As we’re on the subject, it’s worth looking at the credibility of the PM when it comes to the three big pledges he made in 2010
David Cameron will say in a speech today that Labour’s policies would lead to “economic ruin”.
“It’s election year, and the choice is clear: staying on the road to recovery – or choosing the path to ruin. Competence or chaos.
“With the other parties, all you get is confusion.”
And Cameron will add:
“With the Conservatives, you get the opposite. A strong and competent team, a proven record, and a long-term economic plan that is turning our country around …”
Put another way, the Conservatives can be trusted to run the country whereas Labour can’t. A vote for the latter would lead us down the road to ruin while the Conservatives will invariably keep their promises and stick to a plan that is working. Or something like that.
And so we can infer from this that David Cameron and the Conservatives are pushing through their three big promises from 2010 – right?
Well not exactly – decide for yourself.
2010 Tory pledge #1) Reduce the bulk of the deficit
On any criteria the Conservatives have failed to meet this pledge. The deficit is only down a third (and debt is still rising), with the former forecast to reach £91.3bn in 2014-15 – almost three times the £37bn Osborne said back in 2010 that it would be by now. Remember those halcyon days when the chancellor used to taunt Ed Balls for wanting only to half the deficit by the end of this parliament? On Osborne’s watch even that looks overly optimistic.
Despite making a great deal of noise during the 2010 election about ‘dealing with the country’s debts’, the chancellor George Osborne has failed to reduce the national debt as promised. The national debt has now risen from £811.3bn to £1.11trn since the coalition entered office in May 2010. Back then it was predicted by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to have fallen by now to 69 per cent of GDP. But according to the OBR it will hit 74.5 per cent of GDP this year.
2010 Tory pledge #2) I’ll protect the NHS
Last week figures were released showing that the health service is experiencing the worst A&E waiting times since records began back in 2004. This in part stems from problems experienced by GP surgeries, with many patients turning up at A&E because they are unable to get a doctor’s appointment.
According to the Royal College OF General Practitioners, 50 million patients will be turned away from GP surgeries next year because of government underfunding. There is also a potential shortage of GPs coming further down the line: under the coalition the number of family doctors per 100,000 people has fallen to 66.5 – down from 70 in 2010.
Operations to replace hips, knees and cataracts are also being rationed in certain areas of the country, with elderly people having to either go without or pay.
2010 Tory pledge #3) Reduce immigration to the tens of thousands
Back in 2010, David Cameron promised, “no ifs, no buts’ to cut net migration – the difference between people moving to the UK and those leaving – to the tens of thousands – despite warnings that the figure was undeliverable.
Net migration is now above 200,000, its highest level since 2011. According to the Office for National Statistics, estimates for the 12 months to the end of September 2014 revealed a net flow of 212,000 migrants to Britain, compared with 154,000 the previous year.
James Bloodworth is the editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on TwitterLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.