Working to make government more effective


Taking stock of the Conservative manifesto: Has the Johnson government lived up to its promises?

The government is yet to deliver around half of its 2019 manifesto promises – and many of those it has made progress on are the ‘easy wins’.

The government could not have foreseen a global pandemic when it decided on its manifesto promises ahead of the December 2019 general election. Still, it has completed some of its flagship pledges, most notably in taking the UK out of the European Union, and it has so far stuck to promises on the pensions triple lock and taxes. But not all election pledges are equal and many of those that remain on the government’s ‘to do’ list will require hard choices and a far stronger focus on delivery.

Ahead of the Queen’s Speech on 11 May, in which the government will set out its agenda for the next session, this report takes a comprehensive look at the 2019 Conservative manifesto to take stock of the Johnson government’s progress on each of its measurable promises of action or outcomes. It offers our analysis of actions already taken; where progress has stalled, and the effect of the pandemic on this; and what the government must do to meet its remaining promises.

Overall, the numbers paint a positive picture, with nearly half of the government’s manifesto commitments completed or on track. But there are six key policy areas where sizeable, difficult work remains: NHS and social care, ‘levelling up’, net zero, devolution, tax and fiscal strategy, and the constitution.

Related content