DAVID Cameron and Nick Clegg will today unveil the final text of their coalition agreement, outlining their programme for government for the next five years.
The pair will herald a “historic” moment in British politics as their Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties join forces for the first time in over half a century, but will warn the country faces tough spending cuts to reduce its yawning £163bn budget deficit.
“Difficult decisions will have to be taken in the months and years ahead; but we will ensure fairness is at the heart of those decisions so that all those most in need are protected,” the Prime Minister and his deputy write in the joint foreword to the coalition document.
The weighty 36-page text, which has been modelled on the kind of agreements German coalition governments often produce, builds on a previous, shorter version and intends to iron out any differences the two parties still had when they took office on 13 May.
Two of the Tories’ key manifesto promises – to radically reform state schools and the welfare state – have been backed by the Liberals, although the Conservatives have had to make some concessions on their tax plans.
According to the coalition agreement, there will be much tougher sanctions for those who are able to work but choose not to, alongside more training and targeted support for those willing to return to employment.
And Michael Gove, the Tory education secretary, has been given the green light to press ahead with his overhaul of the state education system, allowing new providers – including private ones – to set up state schools.