7 important legacies of the coalition government

The Conservative-Lib Dem coalition ended in 2015. That seems like a life-time ago, but the effects of the coalition are still being felt today.

1. The Lib Dem struggle
After entering into coalition with the Conservatives, the popularity of the Liberal Democrats fell, catalysed by the increase in tuition fees, something which the party had previously pledged to oppose. In 2015, the party won just eight seats, and while they gained four extra seats in 2017, their vote-share fell, showing that the coalition has continued to have a negative effect on the party even two years after its end.

2. Tax threshold increases
But it's not all bad news for the Liberal Democrats. The party went into the 2010 election promising an increase in the personal allowance, which they delivered in coalition with the Conservatives. Each year since then the income tax threshold has increased even when the Conservatives governed on their own, showing that the policy has lasted well.

3. The top-rate of income tax
Another economic legacy of the coalition is the 45p top-rate of tax. The top-rate of 50p in the pound was introduced under the last Labour government, but the coalition reduced this to 45p once in power. David Cameron's majority government kept the rate, as did Theresa's May's. This may well change as time goes on, but for now the top-rate looks fixed.

4. Coalitions can work
The coalition showed the country that coalitions can work and be - dare I say it - strong and stable governments. After 2010's election produced a hung parliament, there was speculation that a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition would struggle and possibly fail by the end of the five-year parliament. However, many commentators were proved wrong and the coalition survived right up until the election.

Coalitions can work in the UK, and as the 2017 election has shown, other forms of government than majority ones can happen.

5 Voting reform
One other legacy of the coalition is that it weakened the prospect of voting reform - at least in the immediate future. The 2011 referendum in which the public voted against the introduction of the Alternative Vote has kicked the issue into the long-grass and has probably set the precedent that any future coalition deal involving electoral reform may need to conclude with a referendum.

However, the campaign for changing the way we elect representatives is alive and kicking, as shown via the active Electoral Reform Society and campaign-group Make Votes Matter, which was set-up after the 2015 election.

6 The Fixed-Term Parliament Act
Agreed upon in 2011, the Act fixed the length of parliamentary terms at five years, however, as the recent snap election shows there are ways around it. The Conservatives pledged scrapping it in their 2017 manifesto, as reported by the Telegraph, but as they fell short of a majority it looks like that for now it's here to stay.

7 Austerity
Austerity is one coalition legacy that carries on today. According to the BBC:

"The amount being borrowed each year has been reduced from 9.9% of GDP when the coalition government took power in 2010 to 2.6% of GDP in 2016 under the Conservative government, a reduction of almost three-quarters"

While there have been mutterings in recent days about easing austerity, as reported by Sky News, the process started under the coalition is likely here to stay even if the government eases off on the cuts to public spending

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