George Osborne is currently giving his speech to the Tory conference, which is being well received – particularly impressive in this flat hall. He focused initially on the argument that fixing the economy is the way to solve the cost of living crisis. But his MPs will also be heartened that he didn’t stop there. The Chancellor has just told the conference hall that, provided the savings can be found, he wants to freeze fuel duty for the rest of this parliament.
This announcement came at the end of a passage on the sort of people the Conservatives want to stand beside: the factory and warehouse workers that the Chancellor has visited in the past few months. The message: you trusted the Tories with the economy, now keep trusting them to lift all the boats, not the yachts.
But Labour will find it relatively easy to claim that it has framed this conference so far. Most of the attacks from ministers have used the ‘Britain can do better’ line from Ed Miliband, and Labour spinners will argue that any cos of living measures announced today are a response to Labour, not something the Chancellor was already planning. But surely what matters more to voters is who do they trust to solve the cost of living crisis, not who got in there first with a clever turn of phrase.