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Page last updated at 08:22 GMT, Thursday, 29 March 2012 09:22 UK

Government 'easy to portray as out of touch'

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Ever since last week's budget there seem to have been a whole series of things that have gone wrong for the government.

First, the budget was criticised as a budget for the rich with that cut in the 50p rate; then the "dinners for donors" scandal showed how if you could afford it you could "buy" access to the prime minister, and yet if you buy a pasty from Greggs for your lunch its going to cost 20% more.

And then there is the prospect of a tanker drivers' strike.

Phil Collins, former adviser to Tony Blair, told the Today programme's Sarah Montague that "here is a government that is easy to portray as being out of touch with the rest of the country" and that the "vulnerability of Conservatives over whether or not we are all in it together... is under threat with these stories".

Tim Montgomerie, editor of the ConservativeHome.com, believed that "genuinely is the worst week for the government" particularly the Tories

It has, he explained, encapsulated the central critique that the government does not understand how ordinary families are coping with the recession.

Number 10 and Number 11 need to "get a grip and respond," he said.

Phil Collins said that the government is embarking on something which is incredibly difficult to do, which is to "reduce the deficit massively while spreading burden equally" and warned of a critique of the government's competency.

Tim Montgomerie defended the budget, saying the majority of the tax cuts were aimed at the lower income earners.

Phil Collins said that the language of "jerry cans" and "kitchen suppers" used by the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude was "extraordinary" and could alienate the public.


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