Things can only get wetter – Sunak calls snap poll

Sunak calls election for 4th of July

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called a snap General Election to be held on July 4.

In the pouring rain outside 10 Downing Street and in constant danger of being drowned out by protestors outside the gates of the famous London address, Sunak appealed to voters to stick with his Government’s plan.

During the somewhat chaotic speech, he said he is guided by what is right, not by what is easy and signalled his intention to fight a presidential campaign against Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

He added: “I can’t say the same thing for the Labour Party because I don’t know what they offer. And in truth I don’t think you know either.

“And that’s because they have no plan. There is no bold action. And as a result the future can only be uncertain with them.

“On the 5th of July, either Keir Starmer or I will be Prime Minister. He has shown time and time again that he will take the easy way out and do anything to get power.”

In response, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the election was “a chance to change for the better”.

Patrick Grant

Fashion entrepreneur Patrick Grant, founder of Blackburn-based Community Clothing said on a BBC TV debate last night: “I can’t help feeling that we have had a Conservative government that has done more harm and less good to both the country and the general population, than any government in my 50 years”

“Most governments in the past, whatever way you vote, you could probably point to something they’ve done something better for somebody.”

“But I genuinely can’t think of anything this government has done that has made anything better for anybody.”

“I could probably spend the next hour listing things that they’ve made worse.” 

National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Martin McTague, said: “Small business owners and self-employed people across the country will be looking for which party puts forward the most compelling pro-growth, pro-business policies to stimulate the economy and encourage entrepreneurship.

“The hard-working voters running the UK’s 5.5 million small firms are a large and motivated section of the electorate. A further 16 million voters are employed by small businesses.

“There will be fierce competition for their votes at this election, and those competing will need a convincing plan to bring down the cost of doing business, support small businesses to grow, and create the right conditions to encourage new businesses to start up. As the campaign begins, each party will need to put forward a clear small business offer or manifesto.”

Richard Beresford, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB) said: “For construction, these next six weeks are a chance to hammer home to all parties how construction has been let down, where decisions have worked and continue to support our sector and where reform is desperately needed. In the next few days, our manifesto, ‘Support Construction to Support Growth’ will launch to help the parties understand those challenges.”

Sunak cited stopping of the boats, immigration going down, the next generation being smoke free, and higher growth than Germany as reasons to trust the Conservatives, but housing and construction were not mentioned.

Rico Wojtulewicz, Head of Policy and Market Insight, added: “Housing and construction were not mentioned as one of the Prime Minister’s successes and unfortunately this is because housing and construction have been failed by this Government. If Britain is to grow sustainably, its next government needs to reform planning, understand the commercial impacts of its decision and most importantly, talk to those they will rely on to implement their promises.”

Kenneth Wood, the Manchester-based Managing Director of the construction and real estate consultancy Drees and Sommer UK, said: “You don’t have to work in Treasury to know that whatever the outcome on July 4 it’s evident there’s no pot of gold to address the many and varied challenges we face as a nation – especially in terms of improving our social infrastructure in areas like schools, health and housing while accelerating decarbonisation across the board.  There’s a very obvious need for progress on issues such as the housing crisis, transport, planning reform, and attracting investment into UK Plc.  It will be the sincere hope of everyone in UK property and construction that whatever administration the vote produces, it’s one that listens to our industry,  and proves to be an enabler of change for good.”

Mick Frankish, Grant Thornton

Michael Frankish, Partner and Practice Leader at Grant Thornton UK LLP in the North West, said: “As parties start to lobby for votes in the run up to July 4th, the policy areas mid-sized businesses (often regarded as the engine of the UK economy) most want to see the next government focus on are investment in skills and training, reducing regulation and red tape, and measures to support the transition to net zero.

“Drawing from Grant Thornton’s April Business Outlook Tracker, it’s clear that mid-sized businesses are feeling more positive than they have for some time. The indicators for business confidence in the outlook of the UK economy and for their own revenue growth and funding position all surpass the Tracker’s rolling average for the last three years. This optimism follows a period of record lows in the latter half of 2023, signifying renewed confidence in the UK’s economy.
“With inflation now reported at 2.3%, its lowest level for nearly three years, it is perhaps close enough to the Bank of England’s target of 2% that a June interest rate cut may be on the cards.  This positive outlook sets the stage for continued business confidence as the country prepares to head to the polls.
“However, the process of a General Election and the associated range of potential policy changes suggested can create uncertainty and directly affect business sentiment and confidence. We’ve seen from our Business Outlook Tracker that wherever there is a sudden, or unexpected, change in policy direction, mid-market confidence is correspondingly affected. But with UK debt levels high and recent warnings from the OECD for fiscal prudence in any election pledges, there may be less opportunity for the political parties to put forward differentiating, stand out economic policies, reducing the uncertainty created this time compared to previous elections.”


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