There has been mixed news on the crucial election issue of the British economy on the eve of the vote.
Britain’s huge service sector unexpectedly picked up speed in April, a survey showed on Wednesday, countering other signs that the economy was slowing just before a national election on Thursday.
The Markit/CIPS services purchasing managers’ index climbed to an eight-month high of 59.5 in April from 58.9 in March and beating the median forecast for a fall to 58.5 in a Reuters poll.
However a leading think tank cut its forecast for Britain’s economic growth in 2015, but said strong consumer spending should keep the recovery on track.
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) cut its British economic growth forecast to 2.5 percent this year, from a previous forecast of 2.9 percent made in February. Last year, Britain’s economy grew by 2.8 percent.
NIESR also said none of Britain’s main political parties had satisfactorily addressed the country’s biggest economic problem of stagnant productivity.
So to what extent will the economy boost the governing party?“The Conservative party have failed to capitalise on their key strengths. And two of the main ones are their economic record since 2010 – having got the UK back to growth, it’s one of the fastest-growing economies now in the G7 – and (secondly) on the prime-ministerial stature of its (the Conservative Party’s) leader. They (the Conservatives) decided instead to focus on a very negative campaign tone by attacking Ed Miliband in a very personal way, that I think surprised a lot of voters,” Danielle Haralambous, political analyst with the Economist Intelligence Unit, told euronews.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s warning that the Scottish nationalists – tipped as potential kingmakers in Thursday’s election – could hold a Labour government to ransom, forcing it to the left and towards Scottish independence, was seen as an attempt to woo English voters.
Ed Miliband himself has said there will be no Labour coalition or deals with the SNP.
– WITH LONDON REPORTING BY SARAH CHAPPELL