Cameron's Next U-Turn? There's Plenty Of Candidates

PREDICT: What Will The Government U-Turn On Next?

Another week, another series of U-turns - at least that's how it feels. The news that the pasty tax has proved too hot too handle and the caravan tax has been parked up in a layby came on the same morning as a fairly major climbdown by Ken Clarke on the use of secret trials.

As has been reported widely, this government has a penchant for U-turns - it's been forced into performing quite a few in the past two years.

So HuffPost thought it was time to cast an eye over some other unpopular government policies, and gauge which of them will provoke the next dramatic swerve by Number 10. And we're offering bragging rights for those who correctly predict which of these policies ends up getting the chop. What's not to like?

Click here or scroll down to make your prediction


Widely criticised for going against the Big Society ethos, this cap on the amount philanthropists can donate as a tax-avoidance measure is considered pointless because rich people will find other ways of avoiding the revenue. Some believe it won't actually affect that many people and that charities get most of their money from elsewhere anyway. The government says it's doing other things to encourage giving but nevertheless Tory MP David Ruffley said on Tuesday he expected it to go next.

Pros: It would stop Big Society hypocrisy claims

Cons: It would seem like Tories are helping their rich friends again


Actually not a tax at all, this freeze on the tax-free threshold for the over-65s is designed to harmonise the system so everyone ends up paying similar amounts of tax. It annoyed enough people but ministers quietly point out that it's happened before and is not taking anything away from pensioners in the strictest sense. Nonetheless if inflation continues to exceed targets then it affects pensioners' real-terms incomes. And they're the people who tend to vote.

Pros: Would stop a backlash among pensioners

Cons: Would fly in the face of everything the Treasury is saying about simplifying tax


Even though they agree with the economics of it, backbench Tories admit that cutting the top rate of tax to 45p was a PR disaster and one which probably cost the party many seats in May's local elections. Apparently, the Tories were told by their Lib Dem colleagues it would be seen as a sop to the rich, but their warnings fell on deaf ears. However, even though it's the tax the wider public probably hate the most, it's the one the government is more or less stuck with.

Pros: U-turning would mean there's a bit more money in the short-term

Cons: It would be more embarrassing than George Osborne's trousers falling down in the Commons


Ministers were quite surprised when the leak about this new law on monitoring calls, emails and text provoked a public backlash. Civil liberties campaigners hate this Bill, along with the plans for secret trials (even though these have now been watered down). Meanwhile, the police and the intelligence agencies, who called for changes in the law, insist that they don't encroach on civil liberties any more than existing laws and that the Bill is just designed to keep up with new technology.

Pros: Would keep Shami Chakrabati quiet for a bit

Cons: It's unclear whether this would be a vote-winner or loser


These have been substantially watered down already - no longer will any parent in a household earning a higher rate of tax see the whole benefit cut. Instead there's an escalator where the amount paid out goes down as parent's salary increases until it hits £60,000 when the benefit stops completely.

It still wasn't enough for many critics though, who complained the reforms are regressive as they allow the benefit to be affected by just one parent's salary whereas a couple each earning £38,000 would keep it, even though they would earn more than the £60,000 threshold.

Pros: Would appease those who think the Tories are anti-women

Cons: It's saving a lot of money and would be a double U-turn!


Something that's already been kicked into the medium-long grass, the consultation on this will continue for a few more weeks. It's thought unlikely there will be a Bill any time soon, but a lot of high-profile Cabinet ministers have been recording videos saying they will be in favour of it.

Pros: Even if it clears the Commons the government will spend ages getting it through the Lords

Cons: It would look very bad for David Cameron, who personally pledged to get it through


This is going to cause problems in the Commons with backbench Tories and even bigger problems with their Lordships - assuming it gets that far. It won't win over any voters and will produce a lot of uncertainty. On the face of it, Lords reform is something Cameron should not be focusing on but he's stuck with it because of the coalition agreement - and those Lib Dems won't let go of this one.

Pros: Would solve a lot of unnecessary problems for Cameron

Cons: The Lib Dems would be very cross and could start throwing their toys out of the pram on other Tory ideas


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