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Almost before George Osborne sat down after delivering his 2012 Budget speech, many of his own Conservative MPs – on the back benches and in the cabinet – were putting up howls of anguish at some of the measures, such as the so-called “pasty tax”, the “granny tax”, taxes on caravans and listed buildings, and limits to tax relief on charitable donations were at the head of the list.

If Osborne had wanted to provide the Labour opposition with sticks with which to beat him he could not have done a better job.

Many commentators feel that it was these measures which contributed greatly to the poor showing that the Conservatives had in the May local government elections.

I said as much in an earlier article entitled Osborne’s Abject Budget Speech and I was not alone in this criticism. So angry were many Conservative MPs that they voted against some of the measures in the debates on the Finance Bill.

But in the last few days Osborne has announced a series of U turns on many of his proposals. There will be no change to the rules on charitable giving and VAT will not be charged on pasties and similar goods so long as they are not kept warm but allowed to cool naturally even if they are still warm when purchased. Mind you just watch for the first case of food poisoning to be reported. VAT will still be payable on listed buildings but where these are churches or other places of worship the VAT will be covered by government grants. Then there is the tax on static caravans – this will remain but will be charged at 5% instead of 20%.

I suppose there is something to be said for a government listening to its critics and reversing policies and in principle; there is nothing shameful about a political U-turn. But having to announce four u-turns on the budget within as many days – not to mention at least one major policy reversal every month since it came to power – the impression given is of an incompetent administration with no guiding principles to ensure it gets its decisions right first time.

One Response to “High Farce as Osborne Reverses Tax Proposals”

  1. Greg says:

    I see your man has done another u-turn over tax on gasoline. What’s he up to?

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