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By Rob Gibson, Head of Communications and Corporate Affairs at ukactive 

As we enter the final stretch of the 2024 General Election, the latest polls show little has really changed since the starting gun was fired on 22 May, with Labour still holding a clear lead and predictions growing of a landslide. Despite this, there have been plenty of warnings of the dangers of complacency at this stage.  

While the chance for the main parties to land a major policy blow in the manifestos came and went, the lack of impact has led to more publicity for those on the fringes. The risk of complacency extends to public debate, particularly given the wider context and the rise of the far-right during elections across Europe.  

As smaller parties look to make their mark on the map come polling day, Reform’s ‘contract’ manifesto was released on Monday. Nigel Farage pledged to get migration under control and cut taxes for smaller businesses, however, the Institute for Fiscal Studies cast doubt on the numbers underpinning the party’s tax and spending plans, as did Sky’s Economics and Data Editor, Ed Conway, who has provided excellent analysis throughout. 

For Labour, Keir Starmer began the week with a visit to Bristol Rovers FC with Shadow Secretary of State for Sport, Thangam Debbonaire, to discuss plans to bring forward the football governance bill. Labour also set out proposals for 350 new ‘bank hubs’ in towns and villages across Britain over the next five years.  

The SNP released its manifesto on Wednesday, with a clear dividing line on Brexit. It also reinforced that its MPs would demand the full devolution of tax, aiming to make VAT a devolved matter. We are continuing to engage with the parties in Scotland to recognise the potential of the sector, and our latest public poll (covered by the Daily Mail) provided further evidence for action. Our latest Member Network event was hosted in Glasgow on Thursday and proved an excellent forum for discussion and support. 

Wednesday also saw some positive news finally arrive for the Conservatives, with inflation dropping to 2% for the first time in three years. However, Rishi Sunak still received a frosty reception during an hour-long phone-in on LBC.  

In terms of the media, aside from betting scandals and personal attacks, the campaign has given us little to remember, with Lib Dem leader Ed Davey’s adventure stunts stealing the front pages. A survey by More in Common was telling – the most frequent adjectives used by people to describe how they felt about the campaign were: boring, negative, indifferent, confused and rubbish. Fake news also continues to pose a risk, with Labour’s Wes Streeting flagging a deepfake on social media which had been doctored to show him insulting Diane Abbott on Politics Live. 

Despite the policy vacuum, our team has been working to cut through the noise and help distinguish fact from fiction for our members. We have been engaging candidates from the main parties, collaborating with our sector partners and supporters to speak with one voice, and briefing journalists at every opportunity. It was hugely encouraging to see so much support for our letter to party leaders, which earned coverage on Sky News and the Today programme. Our CEO, Huw Edwards, also joined BBC Radio London in the studio to talk in more detail about the opportunity facing a new Government. 

With just under two weeks to go, we will continue conversations with prospective parliamentary candidates across the UK (get involved using our template email) and the media, which also supports preparations for the transition to the post-election period. Look out for our next wave of public polling results, as well as the final blog in our GE24 series before the votes are counted on 4 July. 

To learn more about ukactive’s policy calls, download our policy paper. For more information or support please email: