Category Archives: Ed Miliband

Election 2015: UK GDP growth slows to 0.3% – live

Conservatives, Ukip and SNP talk money, while Labour sets out its 10-point immigration plan – and it’s Ed Balls day

6.49pm AEST

David Cameron has commented on the GDP figures. His message is the same as George Osborne’s. (See 9.34am.)

GDP figures show our economy is still growing, but we can’t take the recovery for granted. Don’t risk it with Ed Miliband and the SNP.

6.47pm AEST

Here is some snap Twitter reaction to the GDP figures.

From Philip Aldrick, the Times’s economics editor

GDP grew just 0.3pc in Q1. Bad news for Tories – worse than expected – just nine days to election. Now for the spin.

So just as we reported last record jobs numbers pre-election as great news for Osborne/Cam, these GDP numbers are self-evidently not.

Wow … economic growth slows to 0.3% in 1st 3 months of the year, half what is was the previous quarter and well below expectations.

Q1 GDP at 0.3% against expected 0.5% driven by bad construction figures.

GDP sector detail: 2nd quarterly fall in construction but slowdown broad based across sectors. pic.twitter.com/qVv2VgM72R

Service sector slowdown driven by business services & finance.

Before we all over analyse the stats – remember this is the first estimate of three.

Remember, all GDP data prove the validity of #LongTermEconomicPlan. Strong? It’s working Weak? Shows we need to stick at it Karl Popper.

6.42pm AEST

This is Britain’s weakest quarterly growth since the last three months of 2012 (the last time the UK’s economy contracted), as this chart shows:

6.40pm AEST

Britain’s recovery suffered a far sharper than expected slowdown in the first quarter, delivering a major blow to George Osborne’s track record on the economy with a little over a week to go before the general election.

The economy grew by just 0.3% between January and March according to the latest official figures, half the rate of the previous quarter. Economists were expecting stronger growth of 0.5%.

6.38pm AEST

Here’s Danny Alexander, the Lib Dem chief secretary to the Treasury, on the GDP figures and the slowing rate of growth.

The British economy is recovering well, but these figures remind us that there is still work to do to secure the recovery. Though volatile construction data shows a big dip, the underlying figures show that we are still making solid progress across the wider economy.

Britain will continue to grow at a healthy rate if we stick to a sensible, balanced, timely plan to finish the job and do it fairly. The Tory plans to lurch off to the right with unnecessarily deep cuts and a frenzy of unfunded tax giveaways is a real threat to all the hard earned progress we’ve made to date. Labour’s plans for more borrowing and more debt will push the recovery off track.

6.37pm AEST

The UK service sector was the only part of the economy to grow during the quarter, by +0.5%.

Construction output fell by 1.6%, production by 0.1% and agriculture by 0.2%.

6.36pm AEST

Here is the Office for National Statistics summary of today’s GDP figures.

And here is the statistical bulletin, with the full details (pdf).

6.34pm AEST

George Osborne, the Conservative chancellor, has issued his response on Twitter.

GDP up 0.3%, 2.4% on year. Good news economy continues to grow but this is a critical moment & reminder you can’t take recovery for granted

GDP figures show future of the economy is on the ballot paper. We should stick to the plan that’s delivering a brighter more secure future

With rising instability abroad, now is worst possible time to vote for instability at home.

6.32pm AEST

GDP growth slows to 0.3% in Q1 2015 compared with 0.6% in Q4 2014

Woah. Big miss. GDP growth in q1 at 0.3%

6.32pm AEST

That is less than expected.

6.31pm AEST

Here are the growth figures.

0.3% growth in #GDP in Q1 2015 http://t.co/Y4wnrPxhtq

6.16pm AEST

Peter Robinson, the DUP leader, was interviewed on the Today programme earlier. Here are the key points.

Nobody quite knows what the £12bn would amount to. What we have said is that some of the existing welfare plans that the Conservatives have brought forward we are opposed to, the bedroom tax being an example of that …

I could not see how £12bn could be saved on welfare in a way that would enjoy our support.

We’ve had a very good relationship with both the Conservative party and with the Labour party in the past.

Yes, we are socially conservative. We make no apology for that. The majority of people in Northern Ireland would fall into that [category].

.@DUPleader agrees with Tories focus has to be on getting people working but could not support scale of planned cuts pic.twitter.com/chSLGKCVjO

When the leader of the DUP sounds more sensible on #r4today than most Tories, (well, at the end) something bizarre has happened.

6.03pm AEST

Faisal Islam, Sky’s political editor, has been set out some election thoughts on Twitter which are worth a look.

Anyway I’ve now attended the campaigns of all the main parties and spent a day in the road with both Cameron and Miliband..some reflections:

1. Miliband first of big 2 to go on totally unvetted walkabout with journo. Newcastle is home territory, but plenty of milifans in evidence

2. Newcastle station not rep sample, but no one would’ve expected month ago, a few dozen selfies, milifans professing love and 1 ‘he’s sexy’

3. In interview I chucked whole Labour housing/banking/ cost of living government record at him… Zen calmly straight-batted most things

4. So as ashcroft noted from his poll, miliband is energising the Labour support with reasons to come out to vote, can be seen on ground

5. Before that tho Cam/Mili campaigns controlled,sterile. Extraordinary contrast with street campaign public interaction of Sturgeon/ Farage

6. Cam-paign more “air war” message on “good life” (positive) threatened by SNP tail wagging Labour dog (negative).. Polls show some impact

7. Huge amount hinging on a decisive turn in people’s minds next week, and the late return “home” of “lost” kippers. Impossible to predict

8. Labour have more on the ground organisers and campaigners, Cons have one of most extensive targeted Royal Mail logistical operations ever

9. Cameron “pumped-up” passion play yesterday reflects stepping up of existing strategy… Economic stability strongest card…

10. But 5k biz letter was sloppy…Bigger point: just how decisive will papers be this time? Analogue campaigning for a digital election?

5.44pm AEST

Another YouGov poll has shown clear support for Labour’s plan to impose rent controls on private landlords.

A new YouGov poll reveals broad support for rent controls, with 60% in favour of limiting the amount that landlords can charge renters and 25% opposed. The net +35 support for the policy is up from +23 in May last year.

Conservatives, whose party have denounced rent controls, are divided on the issue – 42% support, 44% oppose.

5.36pm AEST

Here is Patrick Wintour’s story about Ed Miliband filming an interview with Russell Brand. And here’s how it starts:

The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, has been seen leaving the London recording studios and home of Russell Brand, raising speculation that the comedian could be considering endorsing him.

5.33pm AEST

Here is more from the Nick Clegg press conference, where he was setting out a new “red line” for coalition talks. (See 7.29am and 7.49am.)

Clegg says of Labour or the Tories the Lib Dems “won’t let you bluff your way through” and will “pin them down”. pic.twitter.com/iqAm3X022t

Nick Clegg says wd demand a clear timetable for paying off deficit in any Coalition talks

Balancing the budget means filling the structural deficit, says Nick Clegg. #GE2015

Red lines all over the place now. Clegg says would ‘never’ allow Tories to cut £12bn from welfare.

Red lines are not about “bums on seats in Whitehall”, they are about what is right for the country, says Nick Clegg.

5.14pm AEST

Good morning. I’m taking over from Claire now.

Here are today’s YouGov polling figures.

Update: Cons lead at 1 – Latest YouGov/The Sun results 27th Apr – Con 35%, Lab 34%, LD 9%, UKIP 12%, GRN 5%; APP -12 http://t.co/5aqcRQzZ9Y

5.00pm AEST

Priti Patel, the exchequer secretary, is on the Today programme now to plug the Conservatives’ new fund for apprenticeships funded by Libor fines.

This is the most important election in a generation … We’re very clear what is at stake.

This is about our record. Look at what we have achieved.

I actually think this is about being passionate about the future of our country.

4.49pm AEST

My colleague Frances Perraudin is waiting for Nick Clegg at his early morning red-line-drawing. She reports:

Speaking at the National Liberal Club, the deputy prime minister will call for a ‘stability budget’ within the first 50 days of the next parliament.

He will rule out pursuing Conservative plans to cut £12bn from welfare and to balance the books through cuts alone, and he will insist that Labour spell out clear plans on deficit reduction.

We will have a stability budget, to take place within 50 days of election day, a pre-condition of any coalition arrangement.

There will be no deal if there is no stability. No coalition without coming clean with the British people. This too, is a red line.

It is, from my point of view, of course a shame that a policy we were not able to put into practice, which wasn’t on the front page of our manifesto, has eclipsed the very remarkable achievement of being a party with only 8% of MPs [that] has delivered everything on the front page of our manifesto, but therein lie the twists and turns of politics.

4.39pm AEST

The Guardian’s political editor, Patrick Wintour, has more on that visit by Ed Miliband to Russell Brand’s pad.

He reports:

A Labour spokesman said Miliband went to film an interview, adding that the party was looking forward to it being broadcast. Brand has more than 9.5 million followers on Twitter, runs his own YouTube channel, The Trews, and has previously urged his followers on the left not to vote.

It is thought he is not himself registered to vote so if he were to endorse Miliband it would represent a sharp change of mind by the comedian.

4.29pm AEST

Nick Clegg is all about those red lines this week. Yesterday, it was education, and his insistence that the Lib Dems would not enter coalition with any party that didn’t agree to its education spending plans.

The Lib Dems want education spending boosted to £55.3bn by the end of the next parliament, £5bn more than Conservative plans and £2.5bn more than Labour.

An emergency “stability budget” within the first 50 days of the next parliament will be a Liberal Democrat red line in any post-election deal.

Nick Clegg’s demand would effectively veto the Tory plan to cut £12bn from the welfare budget to balance the books if the Lib Dems teamed up with the Conservatives again.

4.21pm AEST

The New Statesman wonders if Russell Brand is ready to forgo his non-voting hard line in order to pencil his X for … Ed Miliband.

It notes that:

The comedian and activist has recently praised Miliband on his programme The Trews after the Labour leader’s appearance in the televised debates.

A friend of mine lives opposite Russell Brand and snapped this picture of Ed Milliband leaving his house…urm pic.twitter.com/kHGVWFbpVZ

The only reason to vote is if the vote represents power or change. I don’t think it does.

I fervently believe that we deserve more from our democratic system than the few derisory tit-bits tossed from the carousel of the mighty, when they hop a few inches left or right …

4.01pm AEST

Good morning! Nine days to go until polling day and there will be no signs of election fatigue on this live blog. We are bringing you live coverage of the campaign every day from 7am till late, right up to 7 May and – possibly significantly – beyond, as the next government takes shape.

I’m Claire Phipps, kicking off the blog this morning, before handing over to Andrew Sparrow to take you through the day. We’re on Twitter, @Claire_Phipps and @AndrewSparrow, so do share your thoughts there or in the comments below.

Not winning the election outright is obviously not a success … I have a duty to spend the next 10 days to win the election outright.

I’m feeling pumped up. There’s 10 days to go, it’s a bloody important election and I’m determined to get across the line. The line is victory – and victory is a Conservative majority. I know the polls are tight but victory is doable.

I just sort of wallop these sort of things that you have to hit. I try not to put a face on the things that I’m striking with my feet and my hands … Sometimes Ed Balls might flicker through my imagination.

The Conservatives have put the economy at the heart of their election strategy in the belief that it will give them a decisive lead over Labour.

This approach will still be justified if there is a swing to the Tories in the last 10 days of the campaign. But so far, despite zero inflation, falling unemployment and rising consumer confidence, David Cameron has yet to reap a significant ‘growth dividend’.

The real battle is being fought for a few thousand votes in around 80 marginals mainly in England, which are being bombarded with election literature and subjected to a steady stream of political heavyweights beating a path to their doors. Some of them may be getting fed up with it but at least they are involved. Their vote counts; it doesn’t feel like mine does.

The momentous nature of the choice ahead is still passing too many voters by: canvassers need the patience of saints hearing those whose lives will be radically affected by the result say ‘They’re all the same’ or ‘We don’t vote’. The temptation to grab people by the lapels and give them a good shaking must be almost overwhelming.

The parliamentary arithmetic means that a vote for the SNP is most probably actually a vote for a weak Labour government. Unless Cameron can cobble together a majority with the Lib Dems and, perhaps, Northern Ireland’s Unionist parties, it’s likely that, together, the SNP and Labour could, as Sturgeon says, ‘lock the Tories out of Downing Street’.

Labour in Scotland, however, cannot admit such a possibility even as Labour in England cannot afford to discount it.

Ed Balls

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Posted in Conservatives, David Cameron, Ed Miliband, General election 2015, Institute for Fiscal Studies, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, Nicola Sturgeon, Politics, Scottish National party (SNP), Scottish politics, UK news, World news | Comments Off