Sat. Jan 16th, 2021

UK house prices rise despite general election uncertainty – business live

Rolling coverage of the latest economics and financial news

9.40am GMT

Speaking of the election…. analysts at the Institute of Fiscal Studies have just warned that neither the Conservatives or Labour have a ‘credible plan’ for the public finances.

My colleague Julia Kollewe explains:

Paul Johnson, the director of the respected thinktank, noted that the Conservatives’ election manifesto in 2017 pledged more austerity and spending cuts, but in reality public service spending has gone up, and is due to be around £27bn higher next year than implied by the manifesto. In fact, he said, it is closer to the 2017 Labour pledge than the Tories’ own manifesto.

This time, the Conservatives are not promising any more spending cuts but are not predicting any spending increases beyond those set out in September either. Their plans would leave public service spending excluding health still 14% lower in 2023-24 than it was in 2010-11. “No more austerity perhaps, but an awful lot of it baked in,” Johnson said.

Related: IFS manifesto verdict: neither Tories nor Labour have credible spending plan

9.19am GMT

Sterling is strengthening after a much-anticipated opinion poll showed that Boris Johnson is on track to win a comfortable majority next month.

The MRP poll, carried out by YouGov, predicted that the Conservatives would win 359 seats, up 42, while Labour would fall to 211 seats and the Liberal Democrats would only gain one seat, giving 13 MPs.

Related: MRP poll: seductive for the Conservatives, grim for Labour

Sterling remains higher overnight:#GBP +0.09% against other currencies#GBPUSD 1.2945 +0.18%#EURGBP 0.85045 -0.11%#GBPAUD 1.91324 +0.33%#GBPJPY 141.69 +0.09%#GBPCAD 1.72019 +0.22%#GBPCHF 1.29363 +0.18%#GBPEUR 1.17585 +0.11%

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