Long reads

UK Elections 2024: What did Labour and the Conservatives promise ahead of the election?

Madhvi Mavadiya

Madhvi Mavadiya

Head of Content, Finextra

The UK will hold its first general election in five years on 4th July 2024, against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis, bank interest rates being cut, long NHS waiting lists, plans for asylum seekers and migrants to be deported to Rwanda, the Israel-Hamas war, the Russia-Ukraine war, and non-prioritisation of climate change mitigation.

In May, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the election and promised the nation a “secure future”, while Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer responded to the news stating that this is the “moment the country’s been waiting for”. 650 members of the House of Commons will be chosen in a month’s time and the party with the majority of members will become the next government, or enter into a coalition if there is not an outright leader.

While the Conservatives have led the UK for 14 years, many polls imply that Labour is currently in the lead. The Green Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party and the right-wing Reform Party – the latter to be led by Nigel Farage – will also garner votes. But what can we expect from a Labour or Conservative win? Here’s a breakdown.

What can the UK fintech industry expect from a Labour government?

In February 2024, the Labour Party released a report, ‘Financing Growth: Labour’s Plan for Financial Services,’ where Rachel Reeves MP, shadow Chancellor and Tulip Siddiq MP, shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury, explore how they would “secure the highest sustained growth in the G7.” Their policy priorities included:

  1. Scaling regional financial centres alongside established hubs in London and Edinburgh and streamlining the regulatory rulebook in line with the Consumer Duty.
  2. Increasing financial resilience including longer-term fixed rate mortgages.
  3. Adopting a coordinated cross-sectoral approach to fraud prevention and regulating the Buy Now Pay Later sector.
  4. Becoming a global standard-setter for the use of AI in financial services.
  5. Delivering the next phase of Open Banking and defining a roadmap for Open Finance.
  6. Embracing securities tokenisation and a central bank digital currency.
  7. Creating a national financial inclusion strategy and establishing a regulatory sandbox for financial products to reach underserved communities.
  8. Reviewing the pensions and retirement savings landscape.
  9. Empowering the British Business Bank to invest more in growth capital and establishing a British ‘Tibi’ scheme to increase institutional investment in venture capital and small cap growth equity.
  10. Delivering a world-leading green finance regulatory framework, partnering with the financial services sector to support the decarbonisation of our homes and increasing investment in infrastructure and green industries through Solvency UK reforms.

What can the UK fintech industry expect from a Tory government?

In March 2024, Jeremy Hunt, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, presented his Spring Budget, which at the time was assumed would be the final budget the current Government would present with the potential UK general election looming. Their policy priorities included:

  1. Helping SMEs develop AI skills with a £7.4 million AI Upskilling Fund pilot.
  2. Providing an update on the AI Safety Institute launched at the AI Safety Summit in 2023.
  3. Launching a SME Digital Adoption Taskforce.
  4. Supporting SMEs and boosting their productivity.
  5. Exiting its shareholding in NatWest Group by 2025-6 and selling to retail investors.
  6. Launching a British Savings Bonds product which will offer consumers a guaranteed interest rate, fixed for three years.
  7. Creating an additional Individual Savings Account (ISA) with a £5,000 allowance.
  8. Extending the Recovery Loan Scheme for a further two years to the end of March 2026.
  9. Introducing the Economic Crime Levy adjustment where entities with UK annual revenue greater than £1 billion, and are regulated for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) purposes, will pay from £250,000 to £500,000 per annum.
  10. Implementing the Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework and Amendments to the Common Reporting Standard.

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