Rishi Sunak announces high-risk general election in July 2024

Today, Rishi Sunak called a surprise early election for the 4th July 2024 in a high-risk move, with the Conservatives trailing 20 points behind Labour in the polls.

Related topics:  Housing,  General Election
Tabitha Lambie | Editorial Assistant, Property Reporter
22nd May 2024
Rishi Sunak announces high-risk general election in July 2024
"Now we are into election season, let’s see what pledges are made. This will give us a steer as to how the economy will react."
- Elliott Culley, Director at Switch Mortgage Finance

Rishi Sunak hopes that his work since becoming Prime Minister “shows that we have a plan and are prepared to take the bold action necessary for our country to flourish. Now I’ve stuck with that plan and always been honest with you about what is needed.”

He said: “I cannot and will not claim that we got everything right. No government could, but I’m proud of what we have achieved together, and the bold actions we have taken. I’m confident about what we can do in the future.”

The PM’s call for a general election comes after a day of speculation in Westminster, triggered by an unusually timed cabinet meeting which senior ministers changed their plans to attend, reports The Guardian.

The ‘wash-up’ – when the Government finalises non-contentious bits of legislation – is expected to take place next week before parliament is dissolved.

Prior to the announcement, a spokesperson for Keir Starmer said: “We’re fully ready to go whenever the Prime Minister calls an election. And we think the country is crying out for a general election so I would urge the Prime Minister to get on with it.”

According to Newspage, brokers have reached a ‘hung parliament’ on whether the Conservatives or Labour will better support the housing market. Dariusz Karpowicz, Director at Albion Financial Advice, worries that if Labour wins “it might not bode well for the economy […] Their proposals include regulating private rents and making evictions nearly impossible.” He also highlighted that there’s talk of a scheme “forcing landlords to offer tenants a buyout option similar to Right To Buy. Such measures could create uncertainty and discourage investment in the housing market, impacting the broader Financial Services sector.”

Michelle Lawson, Director at Lawson Financial, agreed that “Labour’s best gift, if they win, would be to take housing seriously and make housing a senior post. Until this happens, the storm clouds will continue to hover over the housing market, just as they did with Rishi Sunak at the lectern.”

“I met Rachel Reeves at the 2023 Labour Summit and I can vouch for her passion to improve the economy.”

“She’s acutely aware of the problems facing mortgage borrowers and is engaging with those on the ground to better her understanding,” said Ben Perks, Managing Director at Orchard Financial Advisers. Although, he thought her intentions seemed “pure,” Ben doesn’t think Labour will “swoop in and save the country […] We need clear and concise policy and not just a slanging match like we’ve seen in recent campaigns.”

Elliott Culley, Director at Switch Mortgage Finance, said “Housing was not taken seriously under the recent Conservative government. More than fifteen housing ministers since 2010 have left the housing sector in ruin.”

“If Labour does win, they need to tackle the issues in the sector decisively.”

“In previous years, the lead-up to a general election has left the housing market like a graveyard. Buyers disappear due to the prospect of waiting for what’s on the other side and vendors tend not to list unless they’re forced by personal circumstances,” explained Chris Barry, Director at Thomas Legal.

He believes the Spring Budget showed “much higher volumes than expected, rate reductions were on the horizon and talks of property incentives in the Autumn Statement were due to help further.”

“An election in July will likely mean a reduction in housing transactions until the date and then we will have to wait and see if the first hundred days of the new government will help recover the position,” Chris concluded.

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