Public Affairs: Soap Box - Ed McRandal, public affairs consultant, Insight Public Affairs

When you've delivered what many view to be a toxic blow to your brand, lancing that boil is the first step to repairing your shattered image.

In the eyes of the media, this is the problem the Chancellor must now confront. It is not unfair to say that the 2012 Budget did not go as planned: when the derogative term used to describe your efforts enters the Oxford Dictionary, it's hard to argue that the 'omnishambles' tag isn't fair.

But all is not lost. Next week the Chancellor has a key opportunity to undo some of this reputational damage, unveiling his Autumn Statement detailing the Government's plans for the economy.

This provides a much needed 'fire break' for the Government, giving it a chance to extinguish bad perceptions and build confidence afresh. If used properly it can redefine the news agenda and get hacks talking less about past failures and more about the road ahead.

Early reports suggest that the Chancellor will try to convince voters that we are indeed all in this together by cutting both pension relief for higher earners and the welfare bill. But fairness is only half of the Chancellor's battle: he must again convince voters that he can manage their money competently.

To achieve this, two key lessons must be learned from the Budget. Firstly, if the Government is going to propose unpopular measures like the 'granny tax' then it must be prepared to make the case for them. Secondly, it must recognise that tough decisions more often than not provoke angry reactions. It must be prepared to face down opponents, avoiding the constant stream of U-turns that accompanied the Budget, making the Government look indecisive and wrongheaded.

The Autumn Statement is a real opportunity for the Chancellor. To make it a success he must not only identify the right decisions, but stick with them.

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