The Conservatives record in government logo

The Conservatives record in government

The reality of the Conservatives in power

The Conservatives have been in power since 2010 and over that 12 years period so much has changed. Unite wanted to take a look at their record and assess the impact of their political decisions. This page and the associated document highlights the impact of the Conservatives and their record in government. 


The Conservatives' record on:  Jobs

  • The TUC says UK workers are suffering the longest and harshest pay squeeze in modern history
  • Working people lost nearly £20,000 in real earnings between 2008 and 2021 as a result of pay not keeping pace with inflation - The TUC
  • More than a decade on from the financial crisis UK workers are still earning £75 a month less – in real terms – than in 2008.  - The TUC
  • In 2021 there were around 917,000 people on zero hours contracts in the United Kingdom, compared with 990,000 in 2020. Since 2000 there has been a net increase of over 692,000 people on this type of employment contract. - Statista

The Conservatives' record on: Health

  • The NHS has been chronically underfunded over the last decade with the worst funding settlements in its history. No source needed
  • A total of 6.8 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of July (2022), up from 6.7 million in June. - The Independent
  • By June 2021, the UK government had awarded £37.9bn worth of contracts related to the coronavirus crisis to private companies.
  • Two weeks to save the NHS: Unite leads campaign to oppose the Health and Care bill 
  • Over a decade of pay cuts, the pandemic and two top down reorganisations have left health workers’ morale in tatters. The latest figures show over 132,000 vacant roles in the NHS. This includes more than 46,000 nurse posts, raising major questions about understaffing and the safety of services. - The Guardian

The Conservatives' record on: Housing

  • In 2000, a home cost 4 x average salary.
  • In 2021, a home cost 8 x average salary.
  • In 1990, 28,000 social homes were built.
  • In 2020, less than 7,000 social homes were built.
    Source: Shelter
  • Average rents across London increased by 38% in the past 10 years. - Bricks and Logic
  • Average monthly rental payments were now 40% higher than they were 10 years ago, while typical mortgage payments for the same properties were up 13%. - The Guardian 

The Conservatives' record on: Energy

The Conservatives' record on: Transport

  • Spending on subsidies for bus and rail routes – where they are required to support ‘socially necessary’ routes, a definition open to interpretation – fell by 48% in real terms between 2009/10 and 2019/20
  • Spending on concessionary bus fares – a statutory duty that local authorities cannot ration – fell by only 14% - Institute for Government
  • In England alone, more than 3,000 local-authority-supported routes have been cut or reduced in the past two decades, fares are up 403% since 1987 - The Guardian

The Conservatives' record on: Education

  • The Trade Union Learning Fund was scrapped in 2021 removing support for trade union education. - Times Educational Supplement
  • School spending per pupil in England fell by 9% in real terms between 2009–10 and 2019–20, the largest cut in over 40 years. - The IFS
  • Around 10,000, (45 per cent) of schools are now academies following extensive growth over the past 11 years. - Surveyors to Education
  • The 2011 cut to Educational Maintenance Allowance saw up to £30 a week taken away from 603,000 students from the poorest socio-economic groups. - Parliament publication
  • The Government forecasts the value of outstanding student loans to be around £460 billion (2021/22 prices) by the mid-2040s. - Parliament publication
  • The rent university students pay for halls of residence has risen by 60% over the past decade. - The Guardian

The Conservatives' record on: Social Security

  • £14bn has been taken out of the welfare system since 2010/11. - New Economics
  • On average, out-of-work families have lost £1,160 in annual income due to changes to the benefit system since 2010. - New Economics
  • Working families have also lost out, with a £460 reduction compared to if the 2010 benefits system was in place. - New Economics
  • In 2016, the Welfare Reform and Work Act abolished the Child Poverty Act, including the targets to reduce poverty - Child Poverty Action Group
  • The North East of England has seen the most dramatic rise in child poverty in the past six years, having risen by almost half from 26% to 38%. It has now overtaken London to have the highest child poverty rate (after housing costs) in the UK. - Action for Children
  • 3.9 million children in the UK are living in poverty. - Action for Children
  • Food banks in the food charity network provided more than 2.1 million emergency food parcels between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022. Of these, 832,000 were for children. This represents an 81% increase compared to the same period five years ago. - Civil Society

The Conservatives' record on: Local Authorities

  • The UK government reduced grants to local authorities by £18.6bn (in 2019/20 prices) between 2009/10 and 2019/20, a 63% reduction in real terms. -  Tribune
  • Public spending cuts have closed almost 800 libraries in the past decade – a fifth of the UK's total. - Tribune
  • Spending on libraries in 2009 was at £1 billion, but by 2019 this had declined by a quarter. - Tribune
  • In 2018, the BBC reported that almost 700 local authority-run facilities (toilets) in the UK had closed since 2010—one in eight. - Tribune
  • Freedom of Information requests to UK councils revealed 65 pools had closed, either temporarily or permanently, in the three years to March 2022. - BBC News
  • Between 2009/10 and 2019/20, local authority spending on waste collection fell by 17% in real terms. - Institute for Government
  • Official figures show that 1,342 children’s centres have closed over the last decade. - Parliament publication

The Conservatives' record on: Inequalities

  • 23.5 million people will be unable to afford the cost of living this year. - New Economics
  • 43% of families in the lowest wealth decile reported that they would run out of money within a week if they lost their main income source. - Financial Fairness
  • The wealthiest 100 people in the UK have as much money as the poorest 18 million people, according to the Equality Trust. - The Big Issue
  • Women are more likely to be poor, and have been hit harder by cuts to social security and provision of public services over the past decade. - Womens' Budget Group
  • Disabled people were already facing on average an extra £583 in costs per month. Even prior to Covid-19, over a third of disabled workers were having to cut back on food and heating. - TUC (2019) Disability employment and pay gaps 2019
  • On average BAEM - Black & Asian Ethnic Minority households are 1.6 times more affected by the cost of living than their white counterparts. - New Economics
  • LGBT+ support services have been cut and closed increasing inequality and isolation

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