AS Politics Parties Politics Unit 1

To what extent do the political parties agree on ideas and policies?

 

The major political parties often disagree on many issues and one of these particular issues is tuition fees. Currently, the conservative standpoint is to maintain the £9000 a year cost. Furthermore, William Hague said the party would not rule out an increase in fees. This is very contrasting to the Labour policy which would see a decrease to £6000 a year. A reduction is the general party agreement, however, Jeremy Corbyn wishes to scrap fees entirely. The Lib Dems disagree with Labour and believe that cutting fees would be stupid. They believe in keeping the current yearly fees which partly agrees with the Tory party view. UKIP is the only party which wish to scrap uni fees entirely. Despite this, Nigel Farage wants students of the arts to still have to pay the full fees.

Another area of disagreement for the parties is how to reduce the deficit. The current Conservative plan is austerity and making cuts to reach their goal of having a minor budget surplus by 2019/20. As the Tories don’t want to borrow money to solve this issue, it would require cuts of around £33billion to meet their goal of a surplus. The Labour party don’t agree with the size of the cuts the Tories wish to impose and instead propose a different method. This they believe will be done by reversing the Tories’ top rate of income tax and introducing a Mansion tax on houses worth over £2million. Additionally, the party wants to keep the benefits cap and scrap benefits for the rich like Winter Fuel Allowance and capping Child Benefit rises. They also wish to raise money by tackling the tax avoidance and tax evasion. Similarly, the Lib Dems wish to raise £6billion from tax avoiders yet differently to Labour, they also propose an additional £6billion from tax rises on high-value properties. Like the Tories, the Lib Dems predict £3.5billion to come from welfare cuts and savings to end the deficit by 2017/18. UKIP have a very different approach to the other parties. Nigel Farage wants to reduce the deficit by leaving the EU, which the party predicts to save the UK economy £8billion p.a. Furthermore, the party wants to cut foreign aid budget by £9billion and scrap HS2.

The parties do agree on some issues, contrary to popular belief. One such issue is housing. Firstly, the Conservative standpoint is that we need to build more homes. Their policy is to build more homes that people can afford, including 200’000 new starter homes exclusively for under 40 first time buyers. They also refer to a number of monetary plans to help buyers afford their first home. Labour have a similar figure to the Conservatives in that they want to build 200’00 homes a year by 2020. Both parties also agree on the need for schemes in which to help people afford the cost of a new home. The same can also be said for the Liberal Party who wish to make mortgages cheaper to help first time buyers. They also call for the building of more homes, 190’000 new affordable houses. UKIP are not different on their attitude to the issues over housing despite having a slightly different method. Their focus is on the potential use of brownfields which Farage wants to build a million homes on by 2025.

Another agreement between the parties is the need to invest in the NHS. The only difference between them is how much they separately wish to invest. The Tories pledge an £8bn investment by 2020. However, the Conservatives made the pledge on the basis of the NHS predicted savings of £22bn over five years. Labour have created the NHS ‘time to care fund’, in which they pledge an extra £2.5bn a year on top of the Conservative spending plans. Like the Conservatives, the Lib Dems want to invest £8bn to fully maintain the NHS. They predict that the NHS will have all of the money required by 2020. Finally, UKIP promise to invest £3bn more directly into the NHS. In addition to this, to fund dementia treatment with £130m a year and £1bn a year going to elderly social care.

Alex Badcott

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