Rumours began last night that there was going to be an imminent announcement as to when a General Election was going to be called. Those rumours built during the day and very little was done to deny them.

Now we know. Rishi Sunak is to dissolve Parliament on May 24th with a General Election to be held on July 4th.

Summer election

The news of this years General Election follows on from news that inflation in the UK fell from 3.2% to 2.3%, the the Conservatives perhaps hoping that slightly better economic news will give them some sort of boost at the ballot box. That, frankly, is about as likely as snow falling in July.

They are at least 20 points Labour in the polls, with the Tories looking at the most significant loss at the ballot box since John Major lost to Tony Blair in 1997. They may believe that as the date nears that gap in the polls will narrow, but I cannot see how a gap of that size can be overturned in any meaningful way.

So the UK will head to the polls with most of the country expecting Sir Keir Starmer to become the next Prime Minister of the country and will see Labour back in power for the first time since 2010.

A boost for spending?

As is often the case when major votes creep closer, the public tends to become more cautious when it comes to spending. I have sensed things becoming a little more stagnant as the public perhaps waits on news as to what the timeline for a vote is going to be.

I remember in the weeks running up to the EU Referendum that business activity in our sector slowed until the result of the vote was known. Then, once the dust had settled, the public resumed spending and we got busy once again. Even if the debating of the result carried on for a number of years.

I feel like the same thing has been playing out for the last couple of months again. But what I would hope now is that with a date set, and opinion polls so overwhelmingly in favour of Labour being the winners, the public might feel a bit safer in spending again on bigger ticket items.

Of course there is going to be weeks of campaigning and policy announcements to be made which will affect the personal finances of us all, and these will likely sway some people’s decisions in the weeks to come. But what I would hope is that with at least some level of certainty now, people can begin to make financial decisions again.

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