Britain’s hung parliament lasted for a matter of hours – Theresa May is staying on as Prime Minister and forming a government by entering into a partnership with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
While the Conservative’s 318 seats weren’t enough to form a majority government, the addition of the DUP’s 10 seats can help the Prime Minister’s administration pass legislation with the 326 votes required.
We do not know what compromises the Conservatives will have to make in order to build a successful partnership with the DUP. But when it comes to tax, pensions and benefits, we’ve analysed where the two parties agree – and where both parties’ agendas are far apart.
In agreement: raising the personal allowance
The Conservatives have committed to increasing the personal allowance – the amount you can earn before you pay income tax – to £12,500 by 2020. It also wants to increase the amount at which you pay higher-rate (40%) tax to £50,000.
In its manifesto, the DUP supported the increase to the personal allowance, stating that it has been ‘hugely beneficial for thousands of people from Northern Ireland.’
Miles apart: radical changes to the state pension
Theresa May’s party suggested a number of changes to the state pension – from increasing the state pension age, to shifting the generous ‘triple-lock’, which increases pension payments by the highest of inflation, earnings or 2.5%, to a double lock of inflation and earnings only.
The DUP, however, wants to maintain the triple-lock. It has also expressed support for the plight of women born in the 1950s, who have been affected by changes to the state pension age – an ongoing campaign in which the previous Conservative government had repeatedly refused to intervene.
In agreement: action on energy bills
A cap on energy bills was mooted in the Conservative manifesto, extending the price protection in place for vulnerable customers to more people on poor deals.
In its manifesto, the DUP said it wants to ‘see our energy companies place further downward pressure on household bills. We will support efforts to better control energy bills and will seek to ensure any such measure operates in Northern Ireland.’
Miles apart: cutting winter fuel payments
As part of the Conservative plans to overhaul the social care system, it intended to raise revenue by means-testing the winter fuel payment – an annual benefit of between £200 and £300 paid to over people born before 5 May 1953 to help towards energy costs.
This would not go down well with the DUP, which states it would ‘resist any assault’ on universal benefits, such as the winter fuel payment and free bus passes.
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