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Hunt Hints UK Government Looking at October for General Election

(Bloomberg) -- UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt dropped a heavy hint that the government is considering October for a general election.

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Asked by lawmakers in the House of Lords about the timing of the next spending review for government departments, Hunt volunteered October as a potential month for a vote — without any prompting from peers.

“This particular spending review has to be complete before next April, when the next financial year starts, and of course if the general election is in October that will mean it’s very, very tight,” Hunt said.

“That is why we’re thinking in advance about the most important element of that spending review, which is the productivity element.”

The chancellor’s remark hints at the legal and parliamentary constraints that come into play over election timing. The Treasury must deliver another fiscal statement in the current fiscal year, along with a spending review that sets out budgets for government departments. Those require time for debate in the House of Commons, which won’t sit for weeks during the election campaign.

An election must be held by the end of January, and Westminster is engulfed in rumors about when Sunak — whose Conservative Party trails the opposition Labour Party by about 20 points in the polls — will call a vote.

An October election would give more room for the next administration to handle those fiscal and spending statements without colliding with the annual budget, usually delivered in March. It also would permit party officials to do more campaigning during daylight hours — before the clocks fall back for the winter and colder, more rainy weather sets in.

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