WATCH Chancellor of the Exchequers' embarrassing gaffes: a recent history

Posted On: 
12th March 2018

Every Chancellor just wants to get through a fiscal set-piece unscathed, but history tells us that’s not as easy as it seems. As Philip Hammond prepares for his Spring Statement, here are our best worst moment from the last few years.

Philip Hammond and Theresa May have a laugh at last year's Autumn Statement
Parliament TV

2007: Brown's 10p tax turmoil   

In order to reduce the basic rate of income tax to 20p in his last Budget as Chancellor, Gordon Brown decided to scrap the 10p tax rate for low earners that he himself had introduced eight years earlier. The move was so unpopular he was still dealing with the fallout well into his Premiership, and he was eventually forced into a humiliating U-turn at the cost of billions of pounds. Here he is defending the policy to MPs in 2008.

2012: Osborne’s omnishambles

George Osborne (remember him?) used his 2012 Budget to introduce a host of unpopular measures, most notably introducing VAT at 20% on all hot takeaway food - a move that was branded the Pasty Tax. The resulting outrage led to a climbdown and some entertaining exchanges, including the moment a clearly exasperated Chancellor was confronted by Labour’s John Mann.   

To show that they offered a genuine alternative to the Tories, the then Labour leadership embarked on a staged trip to Greggs, during which Ed Balls appeared to panic buy eight sausage rolls. Good times. 

Spring 2017: Fiscal Phil’s Tax U-turn

Philip Hammond thought he could get away with raising National Insurance for self-employed workers, despite the Tories' 2015 manifesto to do no such thing. Safe to say it did not go down well with the Labour party, Tory MPs, the media, voters - in fact, pretty much everyone in the country who doesn't live at 11 Downing Street.

The backlash led to a U-turn, forcing the Government into an embarrassing Commons climbdown just a week later.


Autumn 2017: Cough sweet fail

At Hammond’s 2017 Autumn Budget two of the least funny people in British politics attempted a set-piece joke referencing Theresa May’s disastrous conference speech in which, among other things, she lost her voice. It’s as uncomfortable to watch as it looked to perform.

Anyway, best of luck to Hammond as he attempts to get through his Spring Statement unscathed tomorrow. Here's our take on what to expect. We'll be running a live blog from midday. Stay tuned to PoliticsHome for all the important updates.