Published on 9th October 2023
This insights post contribution was made by Grahame Woods, Account Manager at JBP.
The political environment in the United Kingdom is expected to become increasingly volatile over the coming year as the next general election – expected in November 2024 – draws closer. This election will see Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak face off against Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer in what could be one of the most dramatic election results in recent history. The Conservative Party currently has a large majority of 65 seats, with Labour needing to win over 120 seats to form a majority government. However, with current polling indicating that Labour is on track to win more than 200 new seats, it could be the largest change in parliamentary proportionality since 1945.
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The main battlegrounds for this election have already been drawn up and are likely to focus on the cost of living, net zero, and immigration. The cost of living is a consistent theme in almost every election, and with average prices having increased by 6.3% in the last year, it promises to be front and centre politically in 2024. Net Zero is in the crosshairs for Prime Minister Sunak as he sees it as a key battleground where the Conservatives can recover working-class votes from Labour, and it is expected to be a major debate topic. Immigration is also expected to be a hotly contested issue as small boats continue to arrive in the UK, causing anger and frustration across the entire political sphere.
As result businesses should prepare themselves to face large levels of political uncertainty as many previously agreed targets and deadlines are called into question. Many of these will face being changed resulting in a volatile business and consumer landscape. The level of turbulence going into the election year, however, does create a prime opportunity for organisations to engage with politicians and ensure that their priorities are at the forefront of politicians’ minds going into the manifesto drafting season. An election year offers the best chance for party political policy to be created quickly and rapidly in response to issues. However, cutting through the noise and ensuring that your priority gains traction will be critical.
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