There are still seven months to go before the UK's general election, but already the political scene is boiling over with febrile conjecture about the possible winners and losers. And investors are starting to get nervous. David Pollard reports.
Seven - a number which brings luck for some. Britain's political parties may pray for a dose of it when UK voters go the polls on May 7 next year. Investors too are getting nervous, says UK fund manager Jessica Ground of Schroders. SOUNDBITE (English) Jessica Ground, UK Fund Manager, Schroders: ''We've got the general election, you know, the rise of UKIP which is an unknown, we might have another coalition. Or if Labour gets in, we could have more bad bank break-ups, or if the Conservatives get in, we could have a referendum. So a lot of uncertainty there.'' UPSOUND HOUSE OF COMMONS After promising a referendum on Europe in 2017, prime minister David Cameron's been turning up the heat of his rhetoric on reducing EU immigration - and on getting a new deal for Britain from Brussels. His Conservative-led coalition is in the ascendancy just now. But only just; latest opinion polls give them 35%. Ed Miliband and the main opposition Labour party get 34%. Both are feeling the pressure from the new kid on the block. UKIP - with its fierce anti-EU stance and now with its first ever member of parliament - has seen its poll ratings climb into double figures. Jane Sydenham is investment director at Rathbones. SOUNDBITE (English) Jane Sydenham, Investment Director, Rathbones: ''The EU referendum obviously is something that the Tory backbenchers are pushing for pretty hard and UKIP success is clearly building pressure on that. Any run up to that kind of referendum I think we would see the similar kind of uncertainty that we had in the run up to the Scottish referendum. Does it actually make it more or less likely that we would vote to leave the EU? I suspect. actually, because of the Scottish experience we might look over the edge and say, you know maybe not. But it doesn't mean there won't be a lot of uncertainty in the run up to it." So what assets should investors worry about? For many, they just have to reach into their pockets. SOUNDBITE (English) Jane Sydenham, Investment Director, Rathbones '''Investors should be asking themselves the question do I need to have exposure to sterling. I think that is one of the most important questions ... Quite aside from all the taxation and investment issues there is just a simple currency question to start with." There is 'though, something of a paradox developing. While the incumbent Conservatives appear to gaining ground, so too does the desire to be part of Europe. According to a recent poll, 56 per cent of Britons want to stay in the EU - the highest level of support for 23 years.