Backlash at online budget advert


Screengrab taken from the @grantshapps Twitter feed of a message that the Conservative chairman Grant Shapps posted. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday March 19, 2014. The Tories faced a backlash after an online Budget advert hailed the bingo and beer tax breaks as

The Tories faced a backlash after an online Budget advert hailed the bingo and beer tax breaks as "helping hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy".

Conservative chairman Grant Shapps posted the message on Twitter, asking readers to "spread the word" about the cut in duty on bingo halls from 20% to 10% and the penny off a pint of beer.

But the advert was mocked by users of the social network, with Thick of It co-writer Simon Blackwell saying it would have been rejected as "too far-fetched" if it was suggested as an idea for the political satire.

He wrote: "Genuinely, if that Conservative beer & bingo ad had come up at a Thick Of It script meeting we'd have rejected it as being too far-fetched."

One user called Susan, tweeting as @marthasydenham, told Mr Shapps: "Bingo and beer - you lot genuinely believe that's all the working class want don't you @grantshapps".

Labour peer Lord Wood, an adviser to Ed Miliband, said: "Of all the ill-conceived aspects of this Tory ad, it's the condescending use of the word 'they' that grates the most."

Dave Jones, who tweets as @WelshGasDoc said: "'Bingo & Beer' is @grantshapps showing his contempt for the working classes. What about a tax break for greyhound and pigeon racing too?"

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Ashworth said: "This patronising advert shows again how out of touch David Cameron's Government is.

"The Tory mask has slipped and revealed a party stuck in the past and only comfortable standing up for the privileged few."

George Osborne's Liberal Democrat deputy in the Treasury said he thought the advert was "patronising".

Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander said: "I thought it was a spoof at first, it's just pretty extraordinary."

He told BBC2's Newsnight: "It may be our Budget but it's their words, I think it's rather patronising.

"Also I think it actually demeans some quite sensible things. There are good reasons to be supporting bingo, there are good reasons to be encouraging our pub sector to be stronger - that's the analysis behind those measures."

He added: "This language, well that's for Grant Shapps to justify."

Budget 2014: Winners and Losers

Budget 2014: Winners and Losers