Friday , April 16 2021

General election 2019: latest from the campaign trail –, bbc news

Live Reporting

By Victoria King, Katie Wright, Becky Morton and Joseph Cassidy

All times stated are UK

  1. What are the polls saying in Scotland?

    Professor Sir John Curtice

    Polling expert

    We haven’t had very much in the way of separate polling for Scotland – what we have now dates from mid-October when the Conservatives were in a weaker position than they appear to be in the UK-wide polls now.

    If we take that into account and we look at some of the Britain-wide polls, it’s still perfectly clear that the SNP should, at least, hold the share of the vote that they had last time.

    But the Conservatives have, perhaps, now recovered some ground north of the border, such that they might have a reasonable chance of hanging on to a fair number of the 13 seats they are trying to defend.

    For the Labor Party, north of the border it doesn’t matter what polling you look at – it’s relentlessly pessimistic and the SNP will certainly be hoping to pick up many if not all of the seats they lost to Labor back in 2017.

  2. What is the apprenticeship levy?

    An apprentice

    (PA Media)Copyright: PA Media

    Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn will be talking later about the party’s plans for apprenticeships, including something known as the apprenticeship levy – but what exactly is it?

    The government radically changed the apprenticeship system in 2017, introducing a levy or tax on large employers which they can then claim back to fund training.

    But rather than boosting the number of apprenticeships, according to figures in March , they Havefallen by a more than a quarterwith many small firms giving up on schemes and larger ones failing to even claim back the money they paid in, leaving £ 2bn unspent.

    Many larger firms regard the apprenticeship levy as little more than an extra tax on their wage bill, while many smaller companies are reluctant to have their apprentices go to college one day a week.

    Just before the new scheme was introduced there were 509, 400 starts a year; last year there were just 375, 800, a fall of (%.)

    Read more about how apprenticeships workhere.

  3. Your Questions Answered

    Your Questions Answered graphic

    (BBC)Copyright: BBC

    What would you like to ask the Labor Party? We’ll be putting your election questions to them today on the BBC News Channel at 11: 30 GMT.

    You can get in touch via email at, via WhatsApp on 44 7756 165803 – or you cansubmit your questions here.Follow that link to also see some of the questions our team has already answered.


  4. Simple guides to the parties

    Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley

    (BBC)Copyright: BBC

    We should start to get some manifestos this week – detailed documents setting out the parties’ policy plans – including that of the Green Party.

    The Green Party of England and Wales primarily exists to champion environmental causes but is keen not to be seen as a sing le-issue campaign party and has policies in all areas. So what else do they stand for?

    You can read our simple guides to the Greens and other parties here.

  5. Labor’s domestic message ‘not getting through’ to Leave voters

    Today Program

    (BBC Radio 4) ************

    Polling expert Sir John Curtice says Labor has made “a bit of ground at the expense of the Liberal Democrats” among Remain voters so far during the campaign.

    But he adds that trying to persuade voters on the Leave side of the argument to support Labor on the basis of its domestic agenda is “not having any cut-through at all”.

    “Labor’s share of the vote amongst Leave voters – a grand total of 14% – is exactly the same now as it was a week ago.

    “Equally for the Liberal Democrats, another absolutely clear message, that a lot of them think they can forge ahead by taking away Remain voters from the Conservatives – well, I have to say the polls suggest that so far again their strategy is not doing much good. “

    Sir John said there was a “binary choice” when it comes to Brexit at the election – and at the moment the polls were “quite firmly pointing” towards a Conservative majority.

  6. Business ‘sceptical’ about both Johnson and Corbyn

    (Chris Morris)

    BBC Reality Check

    It’s no surprise that the lines we have been given ahead of Boris Johnson’s speech later focus on his promise to get Brexit done and leave with a new deal that ends the current uncertainty.

    It’s worth emphasizing again, though, that leaving the EU in January – if that happens – won’t end the uncertainty as the UK still has to negotiate its future relationship with the EU.

    On Mr Johnson’s timetable, it has to do that in record time by the end of next year.

    What most CBI members want to know is what the terms of trade will be with our nearest neighbors in a year time. Secondly, they asking what will be in place in terms of immigration policy to allow them to recruit from abroad – especially low-skilled labor.

    So there will be scepticism in the room for Mr Johnson, but a lot will be reserved for Jeremy Corbyn too.

    The CBI said yesterday that Labor might be asking the right questions about inequality but its policies threaten to “crack the foundations of our economy “.

  7. Lib Dems ‘targeting Thatcher fans’ in Bedford

    As part of our election coverage, BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones and economics editor Faisal Islamare monitoring political adverts on social media.

    They’re asking people who see adverts on their Facebook feed to send in a screenshot, along with the “why am I seeing this ad?” information that goes with it.

    Here’s one intriguing example they’ve been sent:

  8. Latest headlines

    What has happened so far today?

    It’s all about business today – well, so far at least – as party leaders prepare to address the CBI conference. Here are the main lines:

    •       The head of the CBI – Dame Carolyn Fairbairn – says businesses need to know how “the uncertainty over Brexit is going to be ended”     
    •       Conservative Andrea Leadsom says she accepts that uncertainty is “devastating” for businesses, which why it’s so important – as the party slogan goes – to “get Brexit done”. She also promises “a fundamental review” of business rates, but doesn’t say where the money to replace them would come from if the decision is made to cut them.     

      •       Sam Gyimah says the Lib Dems are “the party of Remain”, and the certainty they are offering comes in the form of promising to cancel Brexit altogether if they win power.     
      •       Meanwhile, Barry Gardiner outlines Labor’s plans for 320, 000 more apprenticeships, many in low carbon industries, but backs away from a 2030 target for zero carbon emissions set at the party’s conference.            Boris Johnson will be the first leader to address the CBI conference. He will be followed by Jeremy Corbyn and lastly Jo Swinson.            Away from the CBI,the Lib Dems and SNP will be in court,having both filed separate legal challenges over their exclusion from ITV’s general election debate on Tuesday     

  9. How important are the TV debates?

    Chris Mason

    Political Correspondent

    My hunch is that the TV election debates will be significant, but maybe less so than in previous years. When there was a real novelty factor to them, like in 2010, they ended up shaping the whole campaign – we spent days building up to them and days talking about them afterwards. In some people’s eyes they sucked the life out of it. I’m not sure it’ll be quite like that this time.

    There are certainly a lot of debates though, and they ‘ re contentious. The Lib Dems and the SNP both argue they could hold the balance of power in the UK after 12 December so shouldn’t be excluded from any of them.

  10. Welsh politicians clash in TV election debate

    Leading Welsh politicians made their plea for party votes in the ITV debate - left to right: David Davies, Welsh Conservatives; Jane Dodds, Welsh Liberal Democrats; Nick Thomas-Symonds, Welsh Labor; Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru; Nathan Gill, The Brexit Party

    Copyright: ITV Wales

    The TV electioneering has already begunin Wales, where five leading politicians vied for votes in the first debate on Sunday night.

    Labor’s Nick Thomas-Symonds, Liberal Democrat Jane Dodds, Liz Saville Roberts from Plaid Cymru, Conservative David TC Davies and the Brexit Par ty’s Nathan Gill rowed over poverty and the impact of Universal Credit.

  11. Leadsom: Tories ‘determined to reform’ business rates

    Today Program

    (BBC Radio 4) ************

    On any given morning, the political parties pick their spokesperson who then does the rounds on various media outlets. As it’s Andrea Leadsom for the Conservatives, here’s some more from her.

    On Brexit, the business secretary agrees that uncertainty is “absolutely devastating for business ”, but the economy is doing well“ despite that uncertainty ”.

    Her comments come a week after official figures showed that Britain’s economy hadgrown at the slowest annual rate in almost a decade.

    Ms Leadsom says there are lots of small businesses who are “desperate for the certainty that leaving the EU will provide ”.

    She says the Tories are planning “a fundamental review” of business rates, as they want to look at the entire system “to make sure it’s fit for purpose”.

    Business rates are the one tax that business organizations tell us isn’t working for them, she says, so the Tories are “determined to reform it”.

    Asked about where the money comes from to cut business rates, she says: “You’re assuming that money comes from somewhere.”

    She adds: “There are very practical possibilities – we have everything set out in our manifesto. “

    Watch: BBC Breakfast election snippets

  12. Green Party: Labor ‘not ambitious enough’ on climate change

    Motions agreed at Labor conference don’t automatically become party policy and Labor hasn’t yet published its manifesto.

    Nevertheless, the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas has expressed disappointment that Labor is not “ambitious enough” to go for a 2030 target.

  13. Gardiner plays down Labor’s zero carbon emissions plan by 2030

    Today Program

    BBC Radio 4

    Shadow international t rade secretary Barry Gardiner has moved from BBC Breakfast to Today, where he seems to back away from Labor’s plan for zero carbon emissions by 2030,which was app roved at the party conference.

    He says Labor is committed to “a net zero economy well before 2050 “.

    Mr Gardiner goes on to say stopping climate change “is a huge opportunity to create jobs and wealth”.

    He outlines Labor’s plans for climate apprenticeships, which would involve training 80, 000 people a year in “low carbon, high skilled, high paid jobs of the future ”.

    He adds that those skills can also be exported around the world which will help the UK make sure “businesses in Britain are exporting all across the world ”.

    “This is about making sure we don’t just say that we set targets to transform our economy, but actually that we make sure that we’ve got the skills to deliver it. ”

    He says Labor has been listening to businesses which say the current apprenticeship levy is “not fit for purpose” and needs to be more Flexible.

  14. When are the election debates?

    David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Gordon Brown

    Copyright: BBC

    Image caption: TV debates have been part of the election build-up since 2010 – when everyone agreed with Nick …

    TV debates have been part of the build -up to polling day since 2010.

    The first debate –assuming the legal challenge doesn’t change this– will take place between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesda y and will bebroadcast by ITV.

    Sky News has proposed a debate between Mr Johnson, Mr Corbyn and the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, to take place on 28 November – although there are complaints about that too.

    The BBC has announced it will broadcasttwo election debate programs, as well as a special aimed at younger audiences. Its coverage will include:

    •       22 November: A Question Time Leaders’ Special. Conservative, Labor, SNP and the Lib Dem party leaders will take questions from the audience     
    •       29 November: A live debate with figures from the seven major political parties in the UK – Conservatives, Labor, Lib Dems, Scottish National Party (SNP), Greens, Plaid Cymru and the Brexit Party            6 December: A live head-to-head debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn            9 December: Question Time Under 30 focused on an audience made up of young voters     

      Read more.

  15. Lib Dems and SNP in court over TV election debate

    Jo Swinson and Ian Blackford

    Copyright: Getty Images / Reuters

    Later this morningthe Liberal Democrats and SNP will be in court, having both filed separate legal challenges in the High Court over their exclusion from ITV’s general election debate tomorrow.

    The program is the first big TV event of the campaign – and, if ITV get their way, it’ll be a head-to-head between Conservative leader Boris Johnson and Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn.

    However, the Lib Dems and SNP say it is unfair not to invite them to take part.

    When ITV announced its plans, the channel said it would hold a live interview-based program alongside the leaders’ head-to-head to allow other parties to comment, as well as another multi-party debate ahead of the 12 December poll.

    However, it’s not just ITV that has been criticized – the Lib Dems have also attacked the BBC’s plan for a live head-to-head between Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn on Friday 6 December, because Jo Swinson is not taking part.

    The party’s lawyers have sent a letter to BBC director general Tony Hall, saying the exclusion of Ms Swinson is “clearly unlawful”.

    The BBC has declined to comment on the letter.

  16. bar chart war in one battleground constituency

    BBC Hastings graphic

    Copyright: BBC

    There’s been a lot of concern about political misinformation pushed by Russian trolls and data-harvesting firms. But rather dull bar charts can also wreak political havoc.

    BBC Trending found this story playing out in one place in particular. In the marginal constituency of Hastings and Rye, one small poll has caused a row involving paper leaflets, Facebook groups and Batman memes.

    It’s an example of how the online and offline campaigns have merged, how statistics can lead to dubious claims – but also, how social media gives voters the chance to push back .

    Read more.

  17. Why are business rates important?

    Reality Check

    Business rates are going to be one of the topics of conversation today, with Boris Johnson unveiling Tory plans to cut them if he is returned to power next month – but what are they?

    They are a tax based on rental values ​​of the property that businesses occupy.

    They are typically 50. 4% of the market rent – but there are lots of complex reductions, while smaller businesses pay a bit less.

    Business lobby groups – especially small businesses – often complain about the complex system, and that rates have gone up faster than inflation since the current regime was introduced in 1990.

    A recent Parliamentary inquiryfound the UK had the highest level of this kind of tax in the OECD group of wealthy nations, more than double the average.

    However, it’s one of the biggest sources of government revenue , raising £ 31 bn in England in the last financial year.

    If the next government were to cut rates back to 1990 levels, it would cost about £ 10 bn, says Jerry Schurder, head of business rates at property consultants Gerald Eve.

    Retailers complain that business rates are a factor in the closure of small shops.

    But economists at the Institute for Fiscal Studies haveargued that cutting business rateswould only give retailers short-term respite, as landlords would then increase rents.

  18. Leadsom: Tory immigration policy ‘will give business certainty’

    BBC Breakfast

     Andrea Leadsom

    Copyright: BBC

    As we said, the head of the CBI had some strong words about Labor on Sunday, but she also expressed concerns about Conservative immigration plans too.

    Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said talk about only welcoming the “the brightest and best” was “a worry”.

    “If you do want to build 200, 000 houses a year, you d on’t just need the architects and the designers, you need the carpenters, you need the electricians, you need the laborers, “she said.

    Asked about that on BBC Breakfast, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom says the Tories “want an immigration system that is fair to

    She says the “key thing here is businesses are saying they really need certainty”, adding that their immigration policy and “getting Brexit done” will do that

    It will “give them certainty to plan and make hiring decisions”.

    Mrs Leadsom says her party also wants to “help businesses with their ongoing costs” and points to corporation tax cuts.

    “There is more we can do on business rates,” she says.

  19. What do businesses want to hear?

    BBC Breakfast

    Carolyn Fairbairn

    (BBC)Copyright : BBC

    The CBI is a major lobby group, whose mission is to promote business interests. It claims to speak for 190, 000 businesse in sectors from agriculture and aerospace, to construction, financial services and tourism.

    Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director general, says one of the key things businesses need to hear from the party leaders when they address its conference today is ho w “the uncertainty over Brexit is going to be ended”.

    She says how the leaders plan to avoid a no-deal Brexit is crucial for jobs and investment.

    The other important issue, she says, is how the economy is going to be made more competitive, including plans to look at business rates and property taxes.

    Ms Fairbairn adds that business leaders want to know about the parties’ plans for “the big infrastructure projects of our day “, such as HS2 and the expansion of Heathrow.

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