Gordon Brown has confirmed the General Election will be held on 6 May, with the state of the economy and the future of financial services regulation to be the key manifesto targets.
This morning, the Prime Minister visited Buckingham Palace and asked the Queen to disolve Parliament.
Speaking on the steps of 10 Downing Street, Brown said "securing the recovery" was a key aim for the Labour Party.
Conservative leader David Cameron said it was "about time", while the Liberal Democrat's Nick Clegg said it was "the beginning of the end for Gordon Brown".
Labour's chances of a fourth consecutive term have been considered slim for months, although a Guardian/ICM poll published over the Easter weekend suggests the Conservative lead has been cut to just four points.
The Conservatives lead on 37%, with Labour on 33% and the Lib Dems on 21%, according to the poll.
Taxation, the state of the economy and the future of financial services regulation will be key battlegrounds for parties in the run-up to the election.
GDP figures released a week ago by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show Britain emerged from its 18-month recession at a faster-than-expected pace in the final three months of 2009.
The ONS said gross domestic product grew 0.4% in the last three months of 2009, above forecasts for an unrevised reading of 0.3%.
However, the IMF has downgraded its UK growth forecast for 2011 from 2.7% to 2.5%, according to leaked extracts of its World Economic Outlook.
The Tories maintain the Labour Party would be ill-equipped to continue the economic recovery given the events of the last two years.
The future of the FSA has also been a topic debated by industry stakeholders.
Last July, Cameron pledged to scrap the City regulator as part of a massive shake-up of banking regulation aimed at ensuring Britain's economic recovery.
He said the tripartite system introduced by Gordon Brown was a "policy failure of historic proportions" that was directly to blame for the crisis facing the country.
Last month, FSA chief executive Hector Sants resigned his post. He had been outspoken in his criticism of Conservative proposals to dismantle the agency.
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