George Osborne spent an hour in front of the 1922 this evening. 40 Tory MPs took the opportunity to promote their own Budget ideas to him. From what I understand, the tone of the meeting was cordial with Osborne in relaxed form.
A big theme was the cost of living with three MPs including Rob Halfon pushing the Chancellor on fuel duty. Osborne’s responses were non-committal but significantly he didn’t say that binning the fuel duty rise scheduled for September was unaffordable. Instead, a distinct vibe was given off that these MPs concerns would be accommodated. Two other MPs– Steve Brine and Henry Smith—made the case for a cut in air passenger duty, something that the influential chairman of the ’22 Graham Brady has been a public advocate of.
Interestingly, the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee Andrew Tyrie argued that the Budget should reduce the cost of energy by scrapping various green levies. I’m told Osborne was extremely receptive to this idea.
Join us after Osborne delivers his Budget to discuss ‘Whatever happened to the recovery?’ Andrew Neil, Fraser Nelson and James Forsyth will discuss what the 2013 Budget means for Britain’s economic future on 20 March. Click here to book tickets.
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