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Rishi Sunak calls 4 July election

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called for a surprise general election on the 4th July.

Sunak made a statement outside Downing Street, saying he had met with the King to request the dissolution of parliament, which has been granted.

He said: “I hope that my work since I became prime minister shows that we have a plan and are prepared to take bold action necessary for our country to flourish,” he said.

“Now I’ve stuck with that plan and always been honest with you about what is needed even when that’s been difficult.”

Sunak chose to call the election to coincide with today’s CPI inflation figures, which showed that the inflation rate is now back at 2.3%, which he said was “back to normal”.

Labour is widely expected to win the upcoming election, as Keir Starmer’s party currently leads the Conservatives in the polls by 20 points.

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets, Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Although some of the more severe headwinds have eased, the Conservatives will go into this election facing an electorate still struggling with the cost-of-living. Inflation has come down towards target, but it has disappointingly missed forecasts, which means prospects for an interest rate cut have been pushed further into the distance.

“House prices have started creeping up again, amid supply shortages in key parts of the country, which means that getting onto the ladder is still unaffordable for many young people.

“This is while others face the daunting prospect of remortgaging on much higher rates and tenants are watching rents climb at super painful rates. Growth forecasts have been upgraded for the UK this year by the IMF this week, from 0.5 to 0.7%, but it’s hardly shooting the lights out.”

She added: “Until we see the detail in the manifestos it’s difficult to analyse specific effects on sectors of the economy.

“The pledge to kickstart the building of 1.5 million new homes by shaking up the planning system and fast-tracking urban brownfield sites for development would benefit the housebuilders who have had to deal with weaker demand in an era of high interest rates and slow approvals of new sites.

“However, it remains to be seen just how quickly this streamlining of the planning system will take effect.”

Oli Sherlock, managing director of Insurance at Goodlord, said: “With a General Election now set for 4th July, the Renters (Reform) Bill and its progression is now in major doubt. This will be deeply frustrating for the whole industry, which is desperate for clarity.

“Should the bill not be pushed through as part of the wash-up we will be back to square one. The best we can hope for is that the next Government, whoever it’s led by, puts housing and the PRS at the heart of their agenda.”