Chancellor George Osborne has defended a series of U-turns on measures set out in the Budget saying it is right the Government listens and changes its mind when necessary.
Since March’s Budget, the Treasury has scrapped plans to cap tax relief for charitable giving, cut proposed VAT of 20 per cent on static caravans to 5 per cent and rolled back on proposals to put VAT on pasties.
Last month, shadow Treasury chief secretary Rachel Reeves said the series of U-turns shows the Budget was “ill-thought out” and a “total and utter shambles”.
Speaking on the BBC Today programme this morning, Osborne said the changes represent only 5 per cent of the total Budget adding that it was right to listen to concerns and change tack.
He said: “There is only one thing worse than listening and that is not listening. Over the last 20 odd years I have been involved in various ways in politics most of the mistakes have been when politicians just keep digging when they are in a hole because they are too embarrassed to put down the shovel and climb out.”
“On things like the taxations of charities we got it wrong, we haven’t legislated for this, no law was passed we were consulting on it so I thought it was much better just to say look we will not do it, it is fine.”
He said that important measures like a “more competitive” income tax regime and a “huge” tax cut for the majority of taxpayers remain in place thanks to the cut in the top rate of income tax to 45p and a rise in the income tax threshold to £9,205 next April. He added that much of the furore over the u-turns was down to the fact that “potential losers notice more than the many who are winners”.