The dust has settled on a stunning 2015 UK General Election and Britain is set for five years of a majority Conservative government for the first time in 20 years.
Many were shocked that the Tories swept so comfortably to victory given that the opinion polls were almost neck-and-neck between Conservative and Labour in the weeks prior. In the end though, the Tories ended up with 331 seats to Labour’s 232.
In contrast, the Liberal Democrats – who were previously in coalition with the Conservatives – suffered a devastating election, dropping from 57 seats to 8. Nick Clegg resigned as party leader and it could take years for the Lib Dems to recover.
Many were furious with the Lib Dems for seeming to go back on their election promises prior to 2010, with the increase in student University fees being a particular sticking point.
However, many may soon wish the Lib Dems were still around as they were able to prevent some of the more radical Conservative policies from being pushed through.
The divide between the rich and poor is likely to grow even more over the next few years, as cuts hit the poor while the rich get tax breaks.
Here are just some of the things the British public can expect from David Cameron and his party over the next five years…
The NHS is set for more privatisation
The Tories’ reforms of the National Health Service will continue.
The NHS has already seen extensive privatisation over the last five years and voters can expect things to get much worse in the next few years as Cameron continues to auction off parts of the NHS to private businesses.
Only 90's kids will remember this pic.twitter.com/aP8rielhw9
— British Reactions (@BritishReaction) May 7, 2015
To make cost savings there is now likely to be greater private involvement in running services. Some smaller hospitals may lose services they currently provide like A&E and maternity units.
The NHS would still be free at the point of use though, so that’s something.
Welfare payments will be slashed
The Conservative manifesto for 2015 stated plans to cut benefits for the working poor by £12billion over the next three years.
The campaign only revealed where £2billion of those cuts would come from, leaving £10billion more to be found. The major worry for many is that child welfare will be hit the worst and millions of UK families could be affected.
The annual benefits cap will be reduced by £3,000 to £23,000 and housing benefit will be taken from under-21s on jobseeker’s allowance.
These “radical” benefit slashes will affect some of the most vulnerable in society; the poor, the disabled and the disadvantaged.
The number of food banks (already up from 56 to 445), child poverty (27% of kids in the UK currently live in poverty) and deaths could increase, but at least David Cameron’s rich mates can keep avoiding tax.
Workers’ rights could be reduced
Unemployment has fallen under the Coalition Government, although much of that is due to controversial ‘Zero Hour’ contracts (something Labour said they would abolish).
While in coalition, the Lib Dems were able to stop the Conservatives from reducing the employment rights of workers, but now the Tories will now look to slash business regulation, merge regulators and cut costs.
An EU referendum in 2017
A referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union (EU) is now certain to happen in 2017.
David Cameron promised to hold the in/out referendum if he got back into office and he will now look to enshrine the referendum in law as soon as possible.
Cameron has said he wants to stay a part of the EU, but many of his party members disagree and the Tories could end up arguing to leave.
Major tax cuts
The Tories will increase the threshold at which the 40p rate of tax becomes payable to £50,000 by 2020.
It is likely that over the next five years the Tories will also look to abolish that 45p rate of tax altogether for the highest earners.
They also plan to increase the effective inheritance tax threshold for married couples and civil partners to £1million.
The Human Rights Act could be scrapped
David Cameron pledged in his 2010 manifesto to scrap the Human Rights Act, but was unable to do so due to opposition from the Lib Dems.
Now, the Conservatives will look to push this policy through, maybe even drawing up plans within the first 100 days of the new government.
Cameron plans to replace the 1998 Act with a new British Bill of Rights.
More free schools and the end of state schools
The Tories plan to create 500 new free schools and make 3,000 state schools become academies.
Reforms to the Department of Education will continue and powers will be removed from local authorities to decide how schools are run.
A new Education Bill will “force coasting schools to accept new leadership”.
Fracking is the future, an end to onshore wind farms
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (previously run by the Lib Dems) will be hit hard by departmental spending cuts.
In news that will terrify Green activists, subsidies for offshore wind farms and other green energy supplies are likely to be slashed.
The ban on fracking was lifted in 2012 and now there will be generous tax breaks for fracking companies as ministers try to encourage the controversial method of drilling for oil and gas.
Greater powers for the police to monitor communications
The new Conservative government are expected to push through greater powers for the police to monitor internet and phone communications.
The plans were consistently blocked by the Lib Dems but now your privacy could be compromised further.
Less seats in the House of Commons
The Tories plan to reduce the number of the seats in the Commons from 650 to 600.
Again, the Lib Dems blocked this previously but it will now be pushed through by the Conservatives as a priority, making it even more difficult for Labour to get back into power in 2020.
And this isn’t all: Controversial plans on issues like TTIP, Trident, the BBC and Scotland will also be considered under the new UK government.
Many of these Tory policies make for a scary read. Britain could be in for a rough ride over the next five years!