An audit of the major UK political parties’ manifestos by a group of leading academics and ASAP (Academics Stand Against Poverty UK) has revealed a failure to grasp the key issues behind growing levels of poverty in the UK and the lack of a realistic path for a sustainable and prosperous future.
Using a scoring system to assess the likely effectiveness of party policies to reduce poverty, the Conservatives, with a score of less than two out of five, were substantially behind Labour and the Liberal Democrats, who both score more than 3.6 and 3.2 respectively.
The key results were:
- Labour scored highest across all policy areas except the Environment and Sustainability, with an overall score of 3.6, compared to 3.2 for the Liberal Democrats and just 1.5 for the Conservatives
- The Liberal Democrats came a close second to Labour, and stand out in comparison to the other parties for their environmental policies
- The Conservatives scored worst in every topic, never scoring higher than 2, indicating low confidence in their policies across the board
Catarina Tully, Co-Chair of ASAP UK, said, “According to ASAP’s audit, Labour’s plans are the most transparent and detailed, and most likely to lead to improved quality of life for British society generally. The Conservative Party’s manifesto is the vaguest and offers little that is concrete in the way of plans for raising quality of life. The truth is that, across the board, the parties fail to mention Britain’s deep economic sustainability problems: significant current account and trade deficits plus rising household debt. Since our last audit prior to the 2015 General Election, the Conservatives have gone backwards, scoring no more than two out of five across all policy areas, whilst the Labour Party has leapfrogged the Liberal Democrats, standing out particularly for their social agenda.”
The audit is a detailed analysis of each of the parties’ manifesto commitments by experts in a range of policy areas. Each area was rated on a scale of one to five of confidence level in how each party’s manifesto addresses poverty and enables a flourishing life for the UK public.
The audit was undertaken by leading academics from 23 universities across the UK to help voters make informed decisions on election day. ASAP believes that recent trends in poverty have become more acute over the last two years suggesting austerity is affecting the most vulnerable in society disproportionately. It also has specific concerns about the quality of information and use of manifestos in the political debates.
Catarina Tully added, “Never has the need for credible and authoritative analysis been more important. The proliferation of fake news weakens democratic systems, meaning trust in politicians, the media, and even institutions like charities is at an all time low. ASAP UK believes academics and their expertise play a critical role in better informing the debate around the election.”
For more information about the audit, please visit ukpovertyaudit.academicsstand.org.