Boris Johnson said he is “immensely proud” of the achievements of his government in his resignation speech in Downing Street.
He highlighted “getting Brexit done”, “reclaiming the power for this country to make its own laws in parliament”, how the UK handled the pandemic, as well as “leading the West in standing up to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine” as some of his government’s achievements.
He also added: “We’ve been pushing forward a vast programme of investment in infrastructure and skills and technology, the biggest in a century.”
Now, as his premiership ends, how well did Mr Johnson do in fulfilling his promises?
Three years ago, Boris Johnson made seven guarantees in the Conservative manifesto in November 2019.
Here’s a look at how much progress has been made on those pledges, as currently listed on the Tories’ website.
Guarantee: “We will get Brexit done in January.”
Progress: The UK ceased to be a member of the European Union at 11pm on 31 January 2020.
Guarantee: “Extra funding for the NHS, with 50,000 more nurses and 50 million more GP surgery appointments a year.”
Progress: Latest figures show there are 321,624 nurses and health visitors in England in March 2022. This means there are currently only 25,214 more nurses and health visitors now than the 296,410 in work when the manifesto was launched in November 2019.
In the year to May 2019, there were an estimated 291 million GP appointments. In the year to May 2022 there were just over 322 million, so an increase of 31 million per year.
However, it is worth remembering the impact that that coronavirus lockdowns have had. There were almost 40 million fewer face-to-face appointments in the last year compared with 2019, but 70 million more took place through other means – for example either online or over the phone.
Guarantee: “20,000 more police and tougher sentencing for criminals.”
Progress: Some 13,576 police officers have been hired in England and Wales by March this year, according to the latest figures. The Conservatives said they would reach their target by March 2023. Two-thirds of the hires have been completed with 12 months to go.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill was announced in March 2021 and was brought into force this year. It includes measures to make whole-life orders the starting point for pre-meditated child murder, introduces mandatory life sentences for those who unlawfully kill emergency workers in the line of duty, and ends the automatic early release of offenders deemed to be a danger to the public.
Guarantee: “An Australian-style points-based system to control immigration.”
Progress: After Brexit, a points-based system was launched for EU citizens who want to live and work in the UK. This system already applied to migrants from the rest of the world, as introduced by Labour in 2008.
Guarantee: “Millions more invested every week in science, schools, apprenticeships and infrastructure while controlling debt.”
Progress: Debt has risen under Boris Johnson, but the government had to increase spending to tackle the pandemic. This meant the government borrowed large sums of money.
Despite this, schemes to invest money in schools, science, and infrastructure were announced.
Guarantee: “Reaching Net Zero by 2050 with investment in clean energy solutions and green infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions and pollution.”
Progress: An estimated £1.4trn of public and private money will be needed to make net-zero happen by 2050, according to the government’s Office for Budget Responsibility. (They say these costs will be offset by more than £1trn in savings).
The Climate Change Committee says spending needs to be increased to £50bn a year by 2030 to reach that goal. This is five times what is being spent now. The committee is the independent body that advises the government.
Mr Johnson has been particularly vocal about increasing the UK’s wind farm capacity as part of his green plans.
Guarantee: “We will not raise the rate of income tax, VAT or National Insurance.”
Progress: National insurance has risen for some. From April 2022, anyone earning less than around £42,000 will be paying less than the previous year, while anyone earning more than that will be facing an increase in tax.
Some businesses saw a decrease in VAT during the pandemic, but it returned to 20% in April.
Income tax thresholds have been frozen until 2026. This is pushing more people into paying higher tax bills.
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