The biggest campaign pledges Boris Johnson and his government have broken since 2019
Are we really that surprised?
Since Boris Johnson said he would be resigning as Prime Minister, Tory MPs have been fighting it out to fill the rather questionable shoes. Now we’re down to Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, both of which have made several pledges in order to get other Tories to back them in becoming the party leader and ultimately the leader of our country.
Back in 2019, Boris Johnson did much the same in making big pledges during his campaign to win the support of our nation. But how many of these pledges have actually been fulfilled? Some have not made nearly as much progress as expected and some have been straight-up broken.
What a legacy Mr Johnson will be leaving behind as Prime Minister. We can only hope that whoever is next elected fulfils the promises made during the leadership contest. Here are the biggest campaign pledges Boris Johnson and his government have broken since he was elected in 2019:
‘300,000 homes to be built a year’
Despite the fact this target to build an extra 300,000 homes a year was pledged to be met by the “mid-2020s”, the pledge to increase the amount of homes built per year was broken as the number of net dwellings actually fell in by 26,210 in 2020/21, to just 216,490. This was partly due to the pandemic.
In May, the former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick went as far as predicting the government would miss its target by a “country mile”.
But Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson said the 300,000 target was “central” to its “levelling-up” plans, and said the government is still committed to the target.
‘Not raising the rate of income tax, VAT or National Insurance’
As part of his manifesto in 2019, Boris pledged to not raise the rate of income tax, VAT or National Insurance. But this pledge was broken in April this year when it was announced that National Insurance would increase by 1.25p in every pound.
But the government also increased the income threshold people can earn before paying NI, to help with the cost of living crisis. This meant anyone earning less than around £34,000 a year will actually be paying less than they previously did, whilst those earning more than £34k will pay more.
‘Reaching net zero by 2050’
Although this pledge is a mammoth task involving all sections of the economy and society, that continues onto many, many years outside of Boris’ time as PM, whilst in power Boris Johnson has failed to set out a plan for investment in clean energy solutions and green infrastructure in order for the UK to reach its net zero greenhouse gas emissions target, a committee of MPs found last year.
A government representative rejected this accusation, saying it was “bringing forward bold proposals to cut emissions and create new jobs and industries across the whole country”. Boris has overseen plans including those to phase out petrol and diesel cars, and big plans around offshore wind energy. Campaigners have praised his environmental achievements but others have called them fragile and flawed.
‘Spending 0.7 per cent of national income on international aid’
A pledge to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on international aid would reaffirm the government’s commitment to promoting the economic welfare of developing countries.
Since it was made in 2019, this pledge has become all the more important, with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Yet despite this it was broken by the Tory government when the annual budget was reduced to 0.5 percent of GNI in 2021. This was actually the first time since 2013 since the UK will not meet the UN target of spending 0.7 percent.
However, the government has said this was a temporary measure due to the severe economic downturn due to covid and were committed to returning spending to 0.7 per cent when the “fiscal situation allowed”. Regarding Ukraine specifically, the government has said it is providing £220m of humanitarian assistance.
‘Keeping the triple lock’
The manifesto pledge to keep the triple lock in place would ensure that state pensions increase at whichever rate is highest, out of inflation, average wage growth, or 2.5 per cent.
This pledge was broken in wake of Covid when in September 2021 the government announced it would suspend the triple lock for a year, as a post-pandemic rise in average earnings would have seen them increase by 8 per cent.
Work and pensions secretary Thérèse Coffrey had said in the House of Commons the decision was “fair and reasonable” and said the system would be restored after one year.
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Featured image before edits via SWNS