Final question, if I quit BT at the end of my contract and then apply to a new provider a few days later is this still classified as switching? As I would, in effect, be starting from scratch would the new provider charge more than the advertised switching offers or would it make no difference?
You would need to ask your new provider that rather than the old one.
From your post it is a very recent change ,when I done it six months ago it was valid,I can't be expected to know every change in policy on every company and acted in good faith i posted to try to help based on my experience with bt and there was no intent to mislead anyone
If you are switching to another provider that utilises the Openreach network (Sky,TalkTalk, Plusnet for example),
Then all you need to do is arrange your new service with your new provider.
They will then advise BT you are moving, just make sure the switch date is on or after the 15th May.
I think you will introduce unnecessary complications if you cancel your BT service and than apply for a new service from your chosen new provider.
If you want to have no interuptions then switch, it's all gaining provider led, your new provider take care of it.
If you put in a 30 day cease notice with BT, then you can't switch when there is a pending stop on the line, you'd have to wait for BT to end the service, then start with a new provider, this option will see you without service for between 5-10 days.
Your other option is negotiate with BT for a new discount.
In the end I stayed as I was offered a much better deal plus a Google Home machine. Any idea how I claim this or will it just arrive by post?
If the Google Home was included as part of your renewal order, you'll receive it automatically. It normally take around 28 days to arrive.