If this was a Budget for Sun readers, then it hasn’t quite worked out as well as George Osborne might have hoped. The newspaper sounded pretty cheery this morning with its story about the beer duty escalator. But here’s the front page for tomorrow’s edition:
Now, this is clearly as much about Leveson and the newspaper’s industry disgust that it wasn’t consulted when the lobbying group Hacked Off was invited to the late night negotiations as it is about the measures announced today. But there’s also the point that Fraser makes tirelessly on this blog that politicians like to be lazy at best when it comes to talking about debt and the deficit. One of the bullet points reminds readers that the government isn’t ‘paying down its debts’ as David Cameron has said before: ‘Debt! Stands at a mere £1,152,654,000,000′ reads the bullet point.
Fortunately, after the ‘childcare slur’ front pages from both newspapers this morning, the Mail and the Telegraph have given Osborne a much better write-up, albeit with a rather disturbing mock up of George Osborne as Margaret Thatcher from the former.
But the three key points on the Mail front page are ‘huge boost for home ownership’, ‘tax breaks for small businesses’ and ‘£700 tax cut for millions’. That’s a win for the Treasury machine.
Meanwhile the Telegraph has a sympathetic-ish write-up on its front page too (although as Alex Massie points out, the headline might betray some nervousness about the mortgage guarantee plans). Given today’s OBR figures, these front pages could have been a lot worse. If this is as bad as it’s going to get from the leading centre-right papers on the Budget (but clearly things are going to get a lot worse on press regulation), then Osborne would probably take this coverage and run.Tags: Budget 2013, George Osborne, Press regulation, UK politics