UK Election | All You Need To Know

UK Elections

As the United Kingdom gears up for its next general election, voters are keen to understand the key details and implications of this crucial democratic process. This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with essential information about the upcoming UK election, including its timing, major parties involved, key candidates, and potential financial impacts.

When is the UK election?

The next UK general election is scheduled for Thursday, 4 July 2024. This date was recently announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who made the decision to call an early election rather than waiting until the autumn as many had expected.

In the UK, general elections are held to elect Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons, with each MP representing a local constituency. Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on election day, giving voters ample time to cast their ballots.

Who are the political parties involved?

Several political parties will be vying for seats in the upcoming election. The main contenders include:

Conservative Party

The current governing party, led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Labour Party

The main opposition party, led by Sir Keir Starmer.

Liberal Democrats

A centrist party currently led by Sir Ed Davey.

Scottish National Party (SNP)

The largest party in Scotland, advocating for Scottish independence.

Green Party

Focusing on environmental and social justice issues.

Reform UK

A right-wing party that emerged from the former Brexit Party.

While these are the major national parties, voters may also see candidates from regional parties and independents on their local ballots.

Who are the front runners?

Based on current polling and political analysis, the two main front runners for forming the next government are the Conservative Party and the Labour Party. However, it’s important to note that British politics can be unpredictable, and the situation may change as the campaign progresses.

Recent polls have consistently shown Labour with a significant lead over the Conservatives, often by around 20 percentage points. However, due to the UK’s first-past-the-post voting system, this lead in popular vote share doesn’t necessarily translate directly into parliamentary seats.

Who is Conservative Party leader Rishi Sunak?

Rishi Sunak, aged 44, is the current Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party. He made history as the UK’s first British-Indian and Hindu prime minister, as well as being the youngest person to hold the office in modern times.

Sunak’s background includes education at Winchester College, Oxford University, and Stanford University. He worked in investment banking before entering politics, becoming an MP in 2015. His rapid rise through the Conservative ranks saw him become Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2020, where he oversaw the government’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Prime Minister, Sunak has focused on economic stability, reducing inflation, and addressing issues such as illegal immigration. However, he faces challenges including internal party divisions and the fallout from the “partygate” scandal that contributed to Boris Johnson’s downfall.

Who is Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer?

Sir Keir Starmer, aged 61, has led the Labour Party since April 2020. He comes from what he describes as a “working class background” in Surrey, with his father working as a toolmaker and his mother as a nurse.

Starmer’s career before politics was in law, where he specialised in human rights cases. He served as the Director of Public Prosecutions from 2008 to 2013 before entering politics as an MP in 2015.

As Labour leader, Starmer has sought to distance the party from the more left-wing policies of his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn. He has focused on economic competence, NHS reform, and addressing the cost of living crisis. His challenge lies in uniting different factions within Labour while appealing to a broad electorate.

What does the UK election mean for finance?

The upcoming UK general election on 4 July 2024 is poised to have significant implications for the finance sector, regardless of the outcome. While elections often bring uncertainty, the financial landscape appears to be preparing for evolution rather than revolution.

Market Impact and Stability

Historically, UK markets have shown resilience following general elections, typically recovering within 1-2 years. However, short-term volatility is expected as investors react to the results. The Bank of England has cautioned that the global wave of elections, including the UK’s, could impact the stability of the UK’s financial system due to policy uncertainties in major economies.

Policy Approach

Labour, currently leading in the polls, is proposing an approach of evolution rather than revolution for financial services. Their “Financing Growth” plan emphasises significant continuity and collaboration with the industry, focusing on promoting inclusive and sustainable growth beneficial for wider society, with an emphasis on long-term stability.

Financial Inclusion and Sector Growth

A key focus appears to be on broadening financial inclusion. Labour has proposed creating a national financial inclusion strategy and aims to double the size of the co-operative and mutual banking sector. This approach could reshape the landscape of financial services available to consumers and businesses alike.

Green Finance and Sustainability

Environmental considerations are at the forefront of financial policy proposals. Plans include supporting the “greening” of the housing stock, expanding green mortgages, and products for retrofitting work. This aligns with global trends towards sustainable finance and could present new opportunities for the sector.

Investment and Economic Growth

Significant investment initiatives are on the table, including Labour’s proposal to create a National Wealth Fund for investing in various industries, and a publicly-owned company called Great British Energy to co-invest in clean power projects. These initiatives aim to stimulate economic growth and could create new avenues for financial sector involvement.

Savings and Retail Investment

Plans to simplify the ISA landscape and encourage more retail ownership of British businesses could impact how individuals interact with financial markets. Proposed pilot programmes for innovative savings approaches could also reshape personal finance practices.

City of London’s Position

Unlike some previous elections, the financial sector in London appears to be in an upbeat mood. Both major parties are actively courting its support to help revitalise the country’s economy, suggesting that maintaining London’s status as a global financial hub remains a priority.

In conclusion, while the election may bring some short-term market reactions, the finance sector can expect a degree of continuity regardless of the outcome. The focus appears to be on growth, sustainability, and financial inclusion, with potential for new opportunities arising from policy shifts. As always, the sector will need to remain adaptable to navigate any changes in the regulatory and economic landscape post-election.

Keep Informed

To stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the UK election and its potential financial impacts, sign up for New Capital Link’s newsletter. Our team of expert analysts provides timely insights and breaking news to help you navigate the political and economic landscape.

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Rachel Buscall

Co-Founder & Managing Director at New Capital Link.

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