Questions about government and politics are very common on all sections of the IELTS and you will often be asked what you think governments should do about certain situations, or what are the impacts of government actions. This page contains words and phrases that will help make your IELTS answers sound more professional and concise. There are some activities for you to IELTS practice with some real questions.
Table of Contents
1. General Government/Politics Vocabulary
- Adhere to – To act as required according to a rule, promise, or belief
- Austerity – The condition of living without comfort or unnecessary purchases
- Budget – The amount of money available for a specific purpose
- To campaign – To work in an organised way towards a political goal such as an election
- Corruption – Dishonest conduct or use of power. Often involves bribery
- Fiscal deficit – The disparity between how much the government spends and how much it earns
- Democracy – A political system where the population can vote for elected representatives
- Evasive – Avoiding commitment to an answer by responding indirectly
- Funding – The money available for a specific purpose
- Impeach – To charge the holder of office with misconduct
- Left-wing – The liberal and socialist arm of politics
- Legislation – A set of laws suggested by a government and made official by a parliament
- Lobbying/Lobbyists – To seek to influence politicians, public officials, or issues / The people that seek to influence
- Mandate – The authority to carry out a course of action. For example, a candidate voted into office is given a mandate by the voters
- Party – A formally constituted collection of politicians that contest elections
- Populism/Populist – A political approach that is aimed at pleasing ordinary working people, and helping them in a struggle against the elite
- Reform – To make changes to something such as institutions, systems, and policies
- Right-wing – The arm of politics that supports conservatism, capitalism, and traditional ideas
- Think-tank – A group of experts providing analysis or opinion on economic or political issues
- Trustworthy – Can be relied on as truthful and dependable
- Transparent – Done in a non-secretive and clear way
2. General Government/Politics Vocabulary Activity
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To what extent is corruption a problem in your country’s government?
Corruption is a major problem in my country and always has been. It doesn’t matter which political party is in charge or whether they are left wing or right wing, they are always the same because corruption is so deeply embedded in all walks of life, we cannot expect the government to be any different. At the moment we have an extreme left-wing populist leader, who claims that it is his mission to help the poor. However, he has introduced really stringent austerity measures, which have reduced funding to healthcare and education. I also feel that no politician here is very transparent because whenever they are asked questions they are extremely evasive and answer with a completely irrelevant point
3. Government/Politics Idioms, Phrasal Verbs, and Collocations
- A stopgap – A temporary way of dealing with a problem
- Allocate resources to – Distribute resources to a particular area/project. Resources usually refer to money or people.
- Central government – The political authority that governs an entire country
- Come into force – When policies begin to be implemented as laws
- Commit political suicide – When a politician loses support from the public because of extremely unpopular policies or ideas
- Come down on – Criticise or punish severely
- Crack down – Take severe measures against something such as knife crime, burglary etc…
- Elect a government – When the public vote for a government to hold authority and govern
- Go back on – To break a promise or change a decision
- Government body – Any branch, office, or organisation that forms part of the government
- Hard-liner – Politicians who support strict, and rigid ideas
- Local government – The political authority that has control over a city/region
- Perform a U-turn – A change of plan or political policy from what was previously stated
- Pursue/Follow a policy – To show support for a particular policy
- Run for office – To be a candidate in an election
- Shape policy – To be involved in the development and design of political policies
- Stand down – To resign from a post or withdraw from a political campaign
- Stand for – To support or accept particular values or principles
- To impose spending cuts – To reduce the amount the government spends on public services like police/hospitals/roads etc…
- To raise taxation on – To increase tax on a specific item, for example, fuel, tobacco, alcohol etc…
- Topple/Bring down a government – To remove a political party from power
- Windfall tax – A extra tax that is designed to tax excessive amounts of profit
4. Government/Politics Idioms, Phrasal Verbs, and Collocations Activity
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How do you think governments should make money and what should they do with it?
I am of the opinion that governments should pursue a policy of high taxation for high earners so that the wealth can be more evenly distributed. I also think that rather than imposing cuts to health, education, and social care funding, which is what they have been doing, they should introduce a windfall tax on large banks and energy companies. The proceeds from this should then be funnelled into local governments around the country, who can then decide how best to spend the extra revenue in their respective jurisdictions. Another way for them to make more money is by cracking down on large corporations who use offshore companies to avoid paying tax. By implementing all of these policies the government would raise extra revenue without having to raise taxation on salaries or food. The extra resources could then be allocated to those sectors affected by austerity measures.
Are unelected heads of state are a good idea?
No, I do not think they are a good idea because I believe in democracy, where everyone has the right to vote for who they want in charge. Furthermore, I think unelected leaders often stand for extreme ideas that can be dangerous, such as in Russia and Venezuela. They are notorious hardliners regarding their badly thought-out policies, and they come down hard on pollical opponents and the media. I think that the best thing for unelected leaders is that they are toppled by anti-government sentiment resulting from their poor decisions
For more practice, Visit IELTS vocabulary for money.