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NHS funding takes centre stage in UK General Election campaign

By Marianne Curphey

Jeremy Corbyn is focussing on funding shortages for hospitals while Boris Johnson pledges to break the Brexit ‘gridlock’

The row over the future of the NHS intensified today in the run-up to the UK’s General Election on Thursday.

Labour claimed NHS under-funding was putting patients at risk, while the row over bed shortages continued to dog Prime Minister Boris Johnson after his reaction to a photograph of four year old Jack Williment-Barr, who had to sleep on the floor of Leeds General Infirmary, a UK hospital.

Meanwhile Lord Sugar attacked Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn in an article for The Sun newspaper and urged voters to elect a Conservative government. Mr Johnson is due to give a speech later today pledging to "smash through the gridlock" of Brexit if given a majority.

The markets are not expecting the uncertainty of a hung Parliament on Thursday, and as a result today showed no signs of nervousness. Sterling rose slightly against the US dollar, rising to 1.317, a rise of 0.23 per cent, while against the euro it was virtually unchanged at 1.1884 or 0.09 per cent rise, at time of writing.

The FTSE 100 index of leading shares slipped a little in morning trading, down 0.88 per cent to 7,169.93 and the FTSE 250 showed similar form, dropping by 0.93 per cent to 20,727.90.

Analysts said the markets had been weighed down by figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which showed that GDP was flat in the three months to October, and manufacturing and construction had remained weak. These are the last figures on UK economic growth before the election.

In addition, figures from the recruitment company ManpowerGroup said jobs growth had ended in 2019 due to the Brexit uncertainty and a slowdown in trade around the world. It said the first quarter of 2020 was likely to be weak too.

FURTHER READING: US investors expanding into NHS mental healthcare

FURTHER READING: The UK election: predicting potential market scenarios

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