Compare the Parties: 2017 General Election
by Voting Counts · Published · Updated
Trying to work out which political party suits you? Use our policy matrix to see what the major political parties are saying about the issues that matter to you.
Remember, this page only includes 1-2 top policies from each policy area. Read the full manifestos for more details and full list of policy commitments.
Use of a * indicates a definition for the term is available at the bottom of this page.
Article 50: Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon is a part of EU law that outlines the process by which member states may withdraw from the European Union. It gives the leaving country two years to negotiate an exit deal. Since it was triggered by Theresa May on 29 March 2017, Britain shouldn’t leave the EU any later than April 2019. Once it’s set in motion it can’t be stopped except by unanimous consent of all member states.
Austerity: Austerity is defined as a set of economic policies a government undertakes to control public sector debt.
Australian Style Points System: A points-based immigration system specifically designed to target migrants who have skills or outstanding abilities that will contribute to the Australian economy and to fill labour shortages. A non-humanitarian migration policy.
Corporation Tax: A tax on the net income – ie. profits and capital gains – of companies.
Cultural Crimes: Traditional practices that place people at risk, often in their own homes, such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Breast Ironing, ‘honour’ killings and forced marriages.
Customs Union: A form of trade agreement between a group of states to not impose tariffs (taxes on imports) on each other’s goods within the union and also to impose the same import duties (common external tariffs) on goods from countries outside the union, such as the European Union Customs Union (EUCU).
Not to be confused with the single market, which is a broader agreement encompassing not only the free movement of goods, but also services, capital and people.
Double Lock: Alternative to the ‘Triple Lock”, which would remove the option of a 2.5% minimum annual rise.
Europol: The law enforcement agency of the European Union (EU) that handles criminal intelligence and combating serious international organised crime by means of cooperation between the relevant authorities of the member states, including those tasked with customs, immigration services, border and financial police etc.
FBM: Factory Built Modular Homes.
Garden Cities: New self-sufficient towns planned holistically for healthy living, a fulfilling social life and industry. These new towns aim to have much open space and vegetation. They are surrounded by ‘greenbelts’ and contain proportionate areas of residences, industry and agriculture.
GDP: Gross Domestic Product is a measure of all economic activity – all products and services (output) generated within the borders of a country (in a year). If it’s rising, the economy is expanding, ie. more wealth and jobs.
Grammar Schools: State secondary schools which admit pupils aged 11 on the basis of ability. In 1950s and 1960s they were phased out and replaced with a comprehensive system.
Great Repeal Bill: The Great Repeal Bill White Paper sets out the government’s proposals for ensuring a functioning statute book once we have left the EU.
HS2: A planned high-speed railway in a ‘y’ configuration linking London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester. The second high speed rail, after the Channel Tunnel. Estimates place the final cost as £80 billion.
Income Tax Threshold: The income level at which a person begins paying income taxes – also known as the personal allowance.
Legal Aid: Helps meet the costs of legal advice, family mediation and representation in a court or tribunal for serious cases where one can’t afford to pay legal costs.
Living Wage: An informal benchmark based on the amount an individual needs to earn to cover the basic costs of living. Considered to be the minimum pay rates needed to lead a decent life. As living costs vary nationwide, the rate for London is different from that of the rest of the UK.
Migrant Impact Fund: A fund that was scrapped in 2010 – to ease the unexpected pressure of immigration on public services such as housing, schools and hospitals.
National Insurance: The system of compulsory payments by employees and employers to provide state assistance for people who are sick, unemployed, or retired. NI contributions (NIC) are paid to qualify for certain benefits including the State Pension, Jobseeker’s allowance and Maternity Allowance.
Net Migration: The difference between immigration and emigration within a territory during the year. Net migration is negative when the number of emigrants exceeds the number of immigrants.
Proportional Representation: An electoral system where the distribution of seats corresponds closely with the proportion of the total votes cast for each party.
Public Sector: Controlled by the government, the public sector is comprised of organisations that exist to provide a service and not generate a profit – such as education, healthcare, law enforcement and public transit. Funding is usually raised through taxation.
Renationalisation: Bringing assets and/or industries back into national-government ownership that had previously been privatised.
Rent Controls: The placing of a cap on the ammount of rent that can be charged.
Selective Schools: Selects pupils based on ability and aptitude with the “11-plus” exam, taken in the last year of primary school. (See also: Grammar Schools).
Social Care: The provision of social work, personal care, protection or social support services to children or adults in need or at risk, or adults with needs arising from illness, disability, old age or poverty.
STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Many initiatives have been focusing on getting more women into careers in STEM. Only 12% of engineering and technology undergraduates are women.
“Those who have found returning to employment difficult”: “Former wards of the care system, someone with a disability, those with chronic mental health problems, those who have committed a crime but who have repaid their debt to society, and those who have been unemployed for over a year” – Conservative Manifesto
Triple Lock: Refers to the guarantee that the basic state pension will increase each year by whichever is the largest of inflation, average earnings, or 2.5%.
Trident: The nuclear programme/deterrent of four submarines initiated during the Cold War.
Univeral Basic Income: Also referred to as guaranteed income – a form of social security where all citizens individually receive a regular, unconditional sum of money, ie. regardless of whether they receive income from elsewhere.
VAT: Value Added Tax is a general, consumption tax assessed on the value added to goods and services. A percentage of the sale price – it’s currently set at 20% in the UK.
White Paper: Policy documents produced by the Government setting out proposals for future legislation. They may include a draft version of a Bill allowing final changes to be made before being formally presented to Parliament.