Lib Dems on Labour’s manifesto: “Every Labour manifesto since 1997 has been full of promises they have broken”

by Stephen Tall on April 12, 2010

Here’s Lib Dem manifesto author Danny Alexander’s first take on the launch of Labour’s manifesto:

Every Labour manifesto since 1997 has been full of promises they have broken. They simply can’t be trusted to do a single thing they say. The tax system is less fair than when Labour came to power. The only party that is committed to making Britain fairer is the Liberal Democrats.”

And to support Danny’s comments, the party has today issued a report card self-explanatorily titled Labour’s Broken Promises comparing Labour’s 2001 manifesto pledges with the reality almost a decade on. Here’s what it says:

    1. Long-term economic stability – FAILED
    • Britain has suffered the longest and deepest recession since the 1930s.
    1.3 million jobs have been lost since the beginning of the recession.
    • Britain’s deficit for the 2010-11 financial year stands at £167bn.

    2. Rising living standards for all – FAILED
    The gap between rich and poor is greater now than at any time since the Second World War.
    • The UK standard of living has dropped below its level in 2005. GDP per person is £225

    3. Expanded higher education as we raise standards in secondary schools – FAILED
    Fewer than half of 16-year-olds get 5 A*-C grades including English and Maths.
    • The A-level achievement gap between independent schools and comprehensives has widened in the last decade.
    • The only thing expanding about higher education is the fees students will have to pay, which could rise to £7,000 from £1000 in 2001.

    4. A healthier nation with fast treatment, free at the point of use – FAILED
    • Britain is now facing an obesity time bomb. Latest statistics, for 2008, show that almost a quarter of adults in England were classified as obese.
    • Deaths from liver disease in England are rising sharply compared with the rest of Western Europe, according to a Health Profile of England report.

    5. Full employment for every region – FAILED
    • The unemployment rate in April 2001 was 4.9% it is now 7.8%
    There are currently 2.45 million unemployed people
    • Each region and nation has unemployment of at least 6.2%, while it is over 9% in the North East, West Midlands and Wales and over 8.5% in the North West, Yorkshire and Humber and London.

    6. Opportunity for all children, security for all pensioners – FAILED
    Over 8,000 5-7 year olds are taught in classes so big that they are illegal.
    • At the end of June 2009, 40% of 16-24 year olds in rural areas were unemployed or economically inactive
    • 2 million pensioners, almost 1 in 5, are living below the breadlinexii.
    • Today’s pension is now a smaller percentage of the average weekly wage than it was in 1979 when it was worth 26% of the average wage. Last year it was worth just 16%.

    7. A modern criminal justice system – FAILED
    • Failed to tackle re-offending rates. 92% of young men given a first short custodial sentence reoffend within 2 years.
    • Failed to bring down the cost of crime: re-offending by prisoners released from short sentences costs Britain £10bn a year.
    • Failed to improve detection rates, which remain well below 1980s levels. The overall detection rate for all crimes is barely above 1 in 4 (28%)

    8. Strong and accountable local government – FAILED
    The UK has almost 120 national government ministers, while India – a country of with more than one billion people – has 78.
    • There are 760 quangos in England and Wales that spend £38bn a year, yet there is a significant lack of public scrutiny of where and how this money is spent.
    • Local government only raises about 25% of the money it spends from the area it serves.

    9. British ideas leading a reformed and enlarged Europe – FAILED
    • Disastrously divided Britain from European partners by joining the Bush Administration in the illegal invasion of Iraq.
    Failed to reverse the Conservative agreement to have two seats for the European Parliament, wasting a huge £180m a year and producing over 20,000 tonnes of CO2.
    • Failed to show leadership on the environment: the UK is breaking EU rules on our air quality in London.

    10. Global poverty and climate change tackled – FAILED
    • Labour’s commitment to reduce emissions by 20% by 2010 was in its 1997, 2001 and 2005 manifestos. The target remains well out of reach.
    • Renewable energy still only accounts for 5% of UK domestic electricity, significantly less than the Government’s 10% target for 2010.
    Labour spent more on the Iraq War than its entire c.£7.5bn development budget for this year.

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