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Election 2024: Sunak on track to lose seat, Tory candidate probed for election date bet

Published 20/06/2024, 10:47
© Reuters Election 2024: Sunak on track to lose seat, Tory candidate probed for election date bet
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Proactive Investors -

  • Sunak on track to become first PM to lose seat
  • Tory candidate probed for bet on election date
  • What happened last week

Sunak to become first PM to lose seat

Rishi Sunak is on track to become the first prime minister in British history to lose their seat in a general election, Telegraph reports revealed.

Tories are on track to lose around three-quarters of its cabinet in the vote, with only 53 seats in total expected to be Conservative after July 4, an opinion poll by the right-wing paper revealed.

Lib Dems are expected to add further pressure to Sunak’s party, on course to win 50 seats in Parliament and come in touching distance of becoming the official opposition, data from Savanta and Electoral Calculus found.

Meanwhile, Labour is predicted to win 516 seats, giving it an overwhelming House of Commons majority of 382 - double that of Tony Blair in 97.

Farage’s Reform Party, despite positive showings in polls and growing media attention, is expected to be seatless come July 5, with the former UKIP leader set to lose his eighth campaign in a row.

SNP, which unveiled its Scottish independence-driven manifesto this week, is forecast to lose seats, lowering its standing to eight MPs, down from 48 in 2019, with Labour on track to dominate Scotland.

The Conservatives campaign suffered another setback this week after it was revealed a second candidate was being probed by the Gambling Commission over a bet made regarding the date of the election.

Laura Sanders, the MP being investigated has not commented, while her husband Tony Lee, the director of campaigning for the Tories, has taken a leave of absence.

Wednesday: Sunak says Labour's billionaire backers can afford tax hikes

Rishi Sunak has hit out at two billionaires for switching their allegiance to Labour, claiming that they have done so becuase they "can afford tax rises".

The Conservative leader hit out at Labour, Jim Ratcliffe, the owner of Ineos and minority investor of Man Utd, and John Caudwell, the founder of Phones4U and an ex-Tory donor, in an interview with LBC this morning.

He said: "They're two of Britain's richest men. They can probably afford Labour's tax rises."

In response to Sunak's comments, Starmer said the prime minister was "talking nonsense and not for the first time."

“Rishi Sunak should stop lecturing anybody else about the economy. Ask people as you meet them around the country as we do, ‘Do you feel any better off now than you did 14 years ago?’ And there is a resounding no to that question," the Labour leader added.

Billionaire Man Utd owner backs Labour

Jim Ratcliffe, the billionaire co-owner of Manchester United (NYSE:MANU) Plc, has publicly backed Labour ahead of July’s general election, citing dissatisfaction with current Conservative policies and leadership.

Ratcliffe, who holds a minority stake in the football team through the chemicals giant Ineos, said he “had enough” of Sunak’s policies and the string of failed prime ministers.

"Conservatives now have had a fairly long stint and they’ve put forward a whole series of prime ministers that haven’t been terribly successful,” Ratcliffe said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“Everybody in the UK now, you can see that the mood in the UK is ready for a change, they’ve had enough.”

Despite his previous criticism of Labour, Ratcliffe spoke positively about the Labour leader.

"I’ve met Keir Starmer a couple of times, I like Keir. I think he’ll do a very sensible job," he added.

Ratcliffe also criticised current Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s proposal to abolish non-dom status for foreign nationals working in the UK, a policy change he deemed unwise.

"You’ve got 60,000 very wealthy people in London, why would you want to encourage them to leave? It doesn’t make any sense to me really because they all bring enormous value," he said.

Ratcliffe's public endorsement of Starmer echoes that of John Caudwell, the billionaire Tory donor who backed Boris Johnson at the last election. He said he will be voting for Labour next month because the Tories' record has left him in "despair".

JP Morgan to pay bonuses up to ten times salary

Labour’s promise not to reinstate a bankers' bonus cap after the Tories scrapped it last year might provide an early test of its resolve in government if it wins.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves cited the financial sector as one of the UK's greatest assets. which her party would "unashamedly champion".

At the time, Reeves' vow copped heavy criticism from left-wing members of the party and trades unions.

Now, presumably after that reassurance, US merchant bank JP Morgan has decided the water is safe enough to pay its London staff bonuses that, if all goes well, could top £20 million.

Previously, the Conservatives had rowed behind EU rules limiting any bonus to 200% of regular pay 'to deter excessive risk-taking', but JPM is reportedly raising that to ten times base pay.

Another giant US bank, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), has already raised its bonus cap in London in a move to reward high performers.

Tuesday: Record numbers of super-rich leave UK

Millionaires are fleeing Britain in record numbers to set up homes in Dubai, Paris and Florida, new research has indicated.

Non-Doms, or those paying millionaires paying tax abroad so paying less in the UK, have been targeted by both Labour and the Conservatives in this election campaign.

But the threat of more tax seems to have encouraged the super-rich to vote with their feet long before Rishi Sunak went to the country.

Henley’s Private Wealth Migration Report showed 9,500 dollar millionaires left the UK last year, a total surpassed only by an exodus out of China.

Henley said: “This represents a new record outflow for the UK, with London expected to be especially hard hit.

“The top destinations for millionaires leaving the UK include # Paris, Dubai, Amsterdam, Monaco, Geneva, Sydney, and Singapore, as well as retirement hotspots such as Florida, the Algarve, Malta, and the Italian Riviera.”

Government urged to improve public spending as UK ranks bottom of G7 for private investments

A left-leaning think tank has urged whichever party gets elected to increase public investments in sectors such as renewables, EVs, education and healthcare.

"If the economy is an engine, then investment is its fuel. The UK’s dire productivity performance is the single biggest driver of our dire living standards," said George Dibb, director of economic research at the IPPR.

"Without resources flowing into new investment, it’s hard to see how UK economic performance can improve."

It comes after Britain ranked the worst G7 country for private investment for the third year running, new data revealed.

During 2022, the UK ranked 28th out of a select 31 countries for investment into the economy by private companies, with only Greece, Luxembourg and Poland behind it, the Institute for Public Policy Research revealed.

In terms of total investment, which includes cash pumped into public, household, non-for-profit and private ventures, Britain has ranked the lowest of the G7 in 24 of the last 30 years.

Economists would need to travel back to 1990 for the last time Britain's total investments matched the average of the G7 countries (Japan, the United States, Germany, France, Italy and Canada).

Labour vows to open 350 banking hubs

Labour has pledged 350 banking hubs to balance the spate of branch closures and “rejuvenate Britain's high streets”.

Banking hubs used by lenders of all types have been seen as a way to offset the relentless trend of closure by banks and building societies but despite most agreeing it is a good idea execution has been bogged down by operational difficulties with few open.

Rachel Reeves, Shadow Chancellor, said: “Labour’s plan for growth means bringing banking back to high streets, with hundreds of new banking hubs that can support local communities and their businesses.”

John Howells, Link chief executive, added: “Link has already recommended 132 banking hubs right across the UK and they are proving a very popular way of providing access to cash and basic banking for consumers and businesses who need to use a high street branch.

“I’m expecting many more to open over the coming years to protect access to cash and provide a welcome boost to high streets across the country.”

Monday: Reform launches manifesto in Wales

Nigel Farage has said this election is just the first step for the Reform Party with a main target of 2029. when he said he intended to stand for the PM job.

Unveiling the party’s manifesto in Wales, Farage vowed to “stop the boats” in its first 100 days in power on a four-point plan for tackling illegal immigration.

“The Tories have broken Britain. Labour will bankrupt Britain. A vote for either is a vote for more dishonesty and defeat,” the former UKIP leader said.

Reform would also press for a radical reform of the NHS, raise income tax thresholds to £20,000 and take Britain out of the European Convention on Human Rights.

North Sea battleground flares up again

Britain’s North Sea oil and gas sector has been a battleground in the election battle and flared up again as lobbyists and the Tories took another shot at Labour’s proposals.

Keir Starmer's pledge to remove North Sea tax allowances will significantly impact investment in the region, said one junior oiler.

No new wells have been drilled this year as companies await the outcome of the July 4 election and the potential changes to the tax regime.

Labour has announced plans to increase the windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas profits to 78% and eliminate the investment allowances that companies currently use to reduce their tax burden.

These changes are expected to raise billions over five years if fully implemented.

David Latin, chair of Aim-listed Serica (LON:SQZ), said: “You need to make a return of 15% to 20% to even get out of bed, frankly. Under the new regime, they won’t pay back at all. It is not likely you will cover your cost of capital, you won’t get anywhere near it.”

Claire Coutinho, Energy Secretary, claimed the ban would lead to an estimated £4.5 billion in lost tax revenues over the next 10 years and risk tens of thousands of jobs.

Labour dismissed the claims as “more desperate nonsense” from the Tories, adding it would not touch existing licences adding that the North Sea would be managed in a way that does not jeopardise jobs.

Britain's manufacturers want the next government to deliver a formal industrial strategy and forge closer trade ties with the European Union, according to a survey published by the sector's own trade body on Monday.

Give us a strategy say manufacturers

Whatever party wins, manufacturers want a formal industrial strategy and closer trade ties with the European Union, says a new survey.

More than 300 manufacturing companies were quizzed last month, with 69% wanting a credible industrial strategy and 54% seeking stronger EU trade ties.

Read more on Proactive Investors UK

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