Leading article: A U-turn that George Osborne could be proud of

 

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It has been a tricky time for George Osborne. Once lionised as the arch-strategist, a Budget full of loose ends has left the Chancellor looking more like a second-rater not up to the detail of his brief than someone with a gimlet eye on the long game.

After a hat trick of U-turns on everything from the steeple tax to VAT on pasties, Mr Osborne could be forgiven for thinking he must now stick firmly to his guns to salvage his reputation. Not at all. Indeed, the faster the Chancellor faces up to the egregious error that is his charity tax, the better it will be.

From a Government full of warm words on philanthropy, capping tax relief on charitable giving never made sense. Even less so against a backdrop of slashed public spending. Going after tax avoidance is one thing, upping the cost of donating to charity quite another. Mr Osborne must grit his teeth: it is high time for another U-turn.

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