Well received Budget threatened by Shapps tweet backlash

Praise of the Budget is in danger of being dampened by a social media backlash following a widely mocked tweet by Conservative chairman Grant Shapps.

Condemned: Grant Shapps' Budget tweet
Condemned: Grant Shapps' Budget tweet

A survey by the PRCA revealed that 79 per cent polled thought the Budget reflected well on the Tories politically, while 63 per cent thought Ed Miliband’s response to the Budget announcement reflected badly on Labour.

The 38 lobbyists polled from the trade body’s public affairs group voted for the measures that they thought would be the most politically successful for the Tories.

The increase in the amount that can be saved in ISAs came top (64 per cent); followed by further increases in the personal allowance (58 per cent); and changes to duties, including the scrapping of the planned rise in fuel duty, the cut in beer duty and the halving of bingo duty (37 per cent).

Alex Deane, Weber Shandwick head of public affairs, said: "A solid performance from the Government. Osborne needed to put up a bulletproof Budget, and I think that most will think he succeeded."

However, a tweet in which Shapps pointed to cuts in bingo and beer tax as "helping hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy" has been roundly mocked. 

The tweet has become the most retweeted in relation to the Budget, according to research by We Are Social. 

The agency found hashtag #ToryBingo was used almost 40,000 times, though "not in a manner desired by Shapps", according to Ed Kitchingman, research and insight director at We Are Social.

Kitchingman said: "The Conservative Party must be kicking itself. The relatively controversy-free Budget, which had key policies such as its ISA initiative capturing the public’s attention enough to trend on Twitter, was all going pretty well until Grant Shapps’ tweet was seized on as an example of a party out of touch."

In response to criticism of the tweet, a Conservative Party source said: "We are proud to be cutting a penny off a pint for the second year in a row. If this is Labour's only attack on the Budget it shows just how weak and confused Ed Miliband's policies have become."

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