Posted by

Hannah French Senior Political Consultant, Dods

04 Feb 2015

With less than one hundred days till the General Election, all parties are now gearing up for the start of the short campaign period from 30th March, with constitutional experts predicting the following year could be among the most turbulent in recent UK political history.

Amid the speculation of leadership contests, backbench concerns about party lines, and the potential for a second election after a short period of Government, parties will be looking to use the final few months to generate solid support around their core messages.

The long process of manifesto building is heading towards its final stage with key figures including the Conservative’s Jo Johnson, Labour’s Jon Cruddas and the Liberal Democrat’s David Laws working to firm up their parties’ stance on key policies, all set against the backdrop of the most open election period in decades. Senior civil servants are said to already be making plans in relation to a potential hung parliament.

So what does this mean for business? Amid the political uncertainty, many commitments and ambitions have already been trailed in advance.

One key issue for all parties has been the skills gap regularly cited by employers as an obstacle to future growth. A set piece for Labour is its ‘jobs guarantee’ scheme for young unemployed people that they say would last for the whole of the next parliament, whilst the Conservatives say they would look to create three million apprenticeships to be paid for by reducing welfare spending.

The renegotiation of Britain's relationship with the EU is a clear issue at the fore of Cameron’s thinking as he looks to secure Conservative party seats from the ever-encroaching UKIP presence, whilst Labour face their own electoral threat from a party making in-roads into what were once traditional heartlands.

Furthermore, the battle to secure the country’s faith in their economic competency will continue between George Osborne and Ed Balls, as they seek to mould party messages around their long term deficit reduction plans.

Given the nature of current polls, it will be interesting to see just how concrete these manifesto pledges remain within a climate of detailed coalition discussions that many in Westminster are preparing for during that second week of May.