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General election 2024 manifestos: final scores

The 2024 election manifestos of Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party have been ranked against 40 key policies. Find out which party comes out on top.
  Published:  24 Jun 2024    |      8 minute read

Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace have joined forces to rank political parties’ manifestos ahead of polling day on 4 July. After scrutinising the details, Labour scores 4-times higher than the Conservatives, but it’s the Greens and Liberal Democrats that claim first and second place respectively.  

The Green Party leads the pack with a whopping 39 out of a possible 40 points, followed by the Liberal Democrats on 31.5. Between Labour and the Conservatives there’s no contest: Labour scored a respectable but not exceptional 20.5, while the Conservatives are miles off in last place with a shocking 5 points.

As polls stand, Labour looks likely to win the next general election. So, what does this mean for our climate and environment? Labour’s committed to some big goals, like meeting our international climate commitment to reduce emissions by two-thirds by 2030. Should we celebrate? Not yet. Our assessment also reveals Labour is seriously hampered by its commitment to strict fiscal rules, leaving the party without the necessary room to borrow big and invest in our future.  

Economic prudence may be Labour's guiding light, but there’s nothing prudent about failing to invest in safeguarding our future, create secure jobs in green industries, revive our ailing economy and prevent the enormous harms that await us and our planet.

And the Conservative manifesto? To be honest it's dismal. A few small sparks of hope can be found in specific policy areas such as incinerators and bus fares (in England), but this manifesto doubles down on some of the harmful positions of recent years rather than signalling a desire to change tack.    

On the other side of the coin, the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats have lots to be proud of. On climate, nature, homes and justice they’re both making the bold pledges we need to see if we’re to secure a better future for everyone in a way that’s fast but fair – making sure that those with the most, contribute the most. We look forward to seeing them campaign for these in parliament.  

What's a manifesto?

Manifestos are solemn pledges between political parties and the electorate at general elections, so what they include matters. We’ve teamed up with our friends at Greenpeace to analyse and score the manifestos based on 40 policy recommendations ranging from climate, energy and nature to homes, justice and democracy – our joint priorities for ensuring a fair and fast transition to a cleaner, healthier and safer world. 

Our general election demands were sent to political parties and all were aware that their manifestos would be scored against them. We gave parties the opportunity to bolster their scores by sending us additional policy detail, given the manifestos are relatively brief and won’t capture all policy intentions. We’ve also been working behind the scenes to push the parties as far as we can before polling day and win some last- minute commitments. So let’s dig into the results! 

The scores

Climate and energy

Conservative Party. It’s a frankly embarrassing start for the Conservatives, scoring just 1.5 out of a possible 10 points for their climate plans, showing neither the big ambition needed nor the commitment to the necessary policy levers to meet them. Although given the previous Conservative government’s climate plans were deemed unlawful in the courts following a legal challenge from Friends of the Earth, it’s not entirely surprising either. 1.5/10

Labour Party. A solid but slightly mixed picture from Labour on climate. There are some policies that deserve serious credit, including the bold vision of a zero-carbon power system by 2030 and an end to granting new oil and gas licenses (unlike the Conservatives and Lib Dems). And during this process Labour confirmed to us its commitment to the UK’s ambitious international goal of cutting emissions by two-thirds by 2030. This is a big deal, and we’ll need to hold the party to account if it does step into government. But it’s not all good news. Labour fails to score higher because of its unwavering commitment to fixed fiscal rules and reducing spending. No one’s said the transition to a modern, low-carbon economy is going to be cheap, but the costs of not doing so will be greater, and the benefits on offer from big strategic investment in the future of the country are huge. It’s time to borrow big to invest, and Labour’s refusal to commit to this hurts them here. 6.5/10

Liberal Democrats. The Liberal Democrats draw equal with Labour on climate, but for different reasons. They miss the opportunity to rule out new oil and gas licenses like Labours (something we consider a major test of leadership on climate change). But they do match Labour’s commitment to 2030 climate goal. The party’s real strength lies in its understanding of the levers available to deliver climate action. From devolving more climate powers to local people to regulating to ensure companies align their activities to a 1.5C world, these policies would put us on a fair path to transition. 6.5/10

Green Party. A perfect score puts the Green Party head and shoulders above the rest on climate ambition. The Greens hit the same high notes that other parties do, but back it up by promising serious financial investment. The party’s commitment to partly fund the transition to a greener future through wealth taxes means those with the broadest shoulders will pay their fair share. 10/10 

Nature and environment

Conservative Party. Another shoddy score but for good reason: the Conservatives offer on nature and the environment leaves a lot to be desired. One notable policy is the pledge to revoke existing permits for incinerators, which is stronger than both Labour and the Lib Dems policy in this area, but there’s little else to celebrate. Whether it’s on sewage spills into our waters, environment-friendly farming, tree planting or fishing, the Conservatives lack serious policies to reverse the environmental decline and avert the nature crisis. 1.5/10

Labour Party. Scoring half of the points on offer, the Labour manifesto again paints a mixed picture when it comes to nature. Some assurances on the scale of tree planting  help to bump up the score, but in a lot of areas – like environment targets, farming and oceans – the party lacks the firm commitments needed to score big. What’s truly disappointing is the lack of commitment to support a binding global plastic production reduction target, or due diligence rules for UK companies with international supply chains. 5/10

Liberal Democrats. A solid showing from the Lib Dems on the environment, with highlights including their commitment to reform water companies that pour sewage into our aquatic habitats and a promise to plant 60 million trees a year, exceeding the Climate Change Committee’s advice of 50 million. We’ve marked the party down for lacking comment on less climate and nature intensive diets as well as not moving fast enough to ban destructive fishing practices from our Marine Protected Areas. 7/10

Green Party. Full marks again for the Green Party for a strong and compelling offer on the nature and environment crises. Particularly exceptional is its commitments on tree planting and funding for nature-friendly farming, both exceeding what’s needed for full marks. The Greens also have an excellent range of policy to back up the UK’s Environment Act targets and expand the size of our protected natural places.  It’s not perfect – the party’s vision for plastics doesn’t quite get to the root of the problem of reducing production, but it’s not enough to deduct any marks. 10/10

Homes and transport

Conservative Party. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, our scoring shows that the Conservatives’ policies just aren’t up to the job. The party’s policy offer on homes and transport has little to commend. Extending the £2 bus fare cap in England and not explicitly reiterating its previous position of delaying the new petrol and diesel car phaseout to 2035 picks them up some half points here and there, but their “Backing Drivers Bill” pushes the UK in the wrong direction, entrenching car dependency and banning some possible measures to clean up our filthy air. The picture’s no better on homes. The Conservatives resist stumping up the funding to keep vulnerable people warm in their homes. Instead, the manifesto uses inflammatory language about “ripping out your boilers” to justify climate delay and inaction. 1.5/10

Labour Party. Some promising policies from Labour on this front, particularly the recommitment to both the Future Homes Standard and 2030 petrol and diesel phase-out date. These are significant commitments that Labour can be held to. The party’s manifesto acknowledges the need for further funding to modernise the UK’s housing stock and keep the nation warm in winter, but its commitment to hold purse strings tight means what’s on offer is far from enough. On transport, the nationalisation of rail and franchising of buses are big steps in the right direction, but the party has so far avoided committing to the most effective method of curbing aviation emissions – reducing demand fairly through a frequent flyer levy. 4.5/10

Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems manifesto truly reflects the scale of the problem of cold, inefficient homes, and their national retrofit programme has enough money behind it to deliver the transformation we need. Along with free heat pumps for low-income households and support for a social tariff to help those on low incomes with their energy bills, the party has the right sort of policy to ensure a fair way forward for our cold homes epidemic. 8.5/10

Green Party. Technically this is the Greens’ worst category, but since they scored 9 out of 10 that seems a bit harsh. They lose a mark for their lack of commitment to a social tariff for energy – although it should be noted they do have a range of helpful policy on the cost of living – and for holding back on going all out for electric vehicles, with little to say on battery factories or infrastructure roll out. Other than that, the party’s policies are very strong, with a frequent flyer levy, cheaper public transport and a Clean Air Act marked as priorities for any future Green Party MPs. 9/10 

Justice and democracy

Conservative Party. If you thought the party’s scores were bad so far, buckle up. Justice and democracy policies prove to be the Conservative Party’s worst area, scoring a measly half a point out of ten. They get that half a point for some assurances on food and farming standards for trade deals, but everything else is found lacking. The Conservatives have recently brought in a raft of harmful legislation on policing, migration, voter ID and more. Unfortunately, instead of using this election as an opportunity to change course, the manifesto doubles down on stoking culture wars and restricting civil liberties. 0.5/10

Labour Party. This isn’t Labour's strongest area. However, it performs significantly better than the Conservatives by defending our democracy against recent harmful Bills by promising to overturn legislation on deportations to Rwanda, curtailment of workers’ rights and proposing some reforms on voter ID. However, it fails to revoke the damaging Public Order Act that imposes restrictions on the right to protest. It also fails to support proportional representation or the creation of a Scottish-style Right to Roam, but the party’s support for votes for 16- and 17-year-olds is a welcome step. 4.5/10

Liberal Democrats. A whopping 9.5 out of 10 for the Lib Dems on justice and democracy. Not only does the party’s manifesto commit to revoking a whole range of recent harmful legislation including the Rwanda Bill, voter-ID and Public Order Act, it also to pushes our democracy forwards by introducing votes for 16- and 17-year-olds, proportional representation and steps towards a Right to Roam. They miss out on a perfect score by failing to revoke anti-worker legislation that’d help pave the way for a worker-led transition.  9.5/10

Green Party. Another ten out of ten for the Green Party to finish us off. Not only does the party match the Lib Dems on both defending and expanding space for democracy, its strong commitment on workers right and revoking anti-strikes legislation gains the Greens a perfect ten. 10/10 

How we ranked the parties

The 4 main political parties were scored against a set of 40 policy recommendations compiled by Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, which were shared with each party in advance. If a policy recommendation was largely or fully met, 1 point was scored. 0.5 points were awarded if partially met, and 0 if not or hardly met.

The first stage in our process involved producing draft scoring for each party on their manifesto and sharing the results with the parties to provide opportunity for feedback and clarifications and to tell us additional current party policy for consideration that did not make it into their manifesto. Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party used this opportunity to provide further evidence (see below). The Conservative Party did not. 

To complete the exercise we reviewed this additional content and adjusted our scoring accordingly.

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