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Data muddies Cameron's UK vote hopes

Friday, May 01, 2015 - 01:46

As Britain's politicians ramp up the pace on the campaign trail ahead of Thursday's general election, new economic data suggests the country's recovery may not be on firm footing. Sara Hemrajani reports.

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Just six days to go till election day in the UK - and there's still no clear winner in sight. Prime Minister David Cameron, his Labour rival Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg fielded questions from a studio audience in the latest televised contest. The health of the British economy, once again, a major point of discussion. SOUNDBITE:(English) British Prime Minister, David Cameron, saying: "You've got to remember, step back a second, what we inherited. I became Prime Minister at a time when there was no money left. And I bring this with me everywhere the note that the treasury minister left and there it is. 'Dear chief secretary I'm afraid there is no money.' That is the situation I inherited so we have had to make difficult decisions." SOUNDBITE: Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, saying (English): "There was a global financial crisis. There was a high deficit. That deficit hasn't been cleared. It will be the mission of my government to cut the deficit every year and balance the books." As voters weigh up their choices in this final stretch, new data on the recovery could pose problems for policymakers. A closely watched manufacturing survey suffered its biggest fall in more than two years in April. This comes as first quarter growth in the UK slowed unexpectedly. Jan Randolph is from IHS Global Insight. SOUNDBITE: IHS Global Insight, Jan Randolph, saying (English): "Yes it was disappointing. 0.3 percent estimated for first quarter, PMIs are down. What can we put that down to? Well, the strong pound certainly, Europe's not really fully recovering yet. Maybe a bit of a caution on the part of consumers and businesses ahead of the election. I think that does - I think there is a feedback loop there." A sharper-than-expected rise in consumer lending indicates that Britain's economy is being driven by household spending and not factory output. And that unevenness is likely to complicate the Conservatives' decision to put the recovery at the centre of their campaign.

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Data muddies Cameron's UK vote hopes

Friday, May 01, 2015 - 01:46