Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pastygate Will Pale beside a Fuel Strike

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pastygate Will Pale beside a Fuel Strike

Article excerpt

THE Government's discomfiture over Budget fallout and other issues such as the looming fuel tanker drivers' strike is making this one of David Cameron's worst weeks in office. But ministers should be in no doubt: the real danger now is from a fuel strike. In such crises are governments' reputations made or swiftly lost.

For their tax woes, ministers have only themselves to blame. George Osborne had limited room for manoeuvre last week: in any revenue-neutral budget, there are bound to be losers as well as winners. Cutting the 50p rate of income tax was always likely to attract accusations that the Tories were siding with the rich: Mr Osborne made a calculation that that was a political price worth risking.

But the rows over the so-called "granny tax" (cutting the threshold for pensioners' earnings) and "pastygate" (VAT on hot takeaway food) suffered in addition from looking piecemeal and poorly communicated. Pastygate especially makes the Chancellor look out of touch. …

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