How To Play Bingo

The “Beer and Bingo” Budget: Patronizing or Not?


Updated : June 1, 2014


You might have seen the online “Beer and Bingo” advertisement released by conservatives hoping to make changes to beer and bingo taxes, and perhaps like many, you enjoyed it. The ad – and the tax cuts it proposed – have been roundly criticized as “patronizing” by Lib Dem Treasury minister Danny Alexander.

Bingo Tax Cut Better than Drop in Beer Duty

Conservatives hoping to attract blue-collar voters, whose ballots are viewed as vital to helping the party win in the next election released an online advertisement stating that the 1p duty cut on each pint of beer, along with the ten percent reduction in UK bingo taxes would “help hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy.”

While the chancellor stated that it was “very good” that citizens are hearing about measures intended to help pubs and the bingo industry, Lib Dem Treasury Minister Danny Alexander complained that the advertisement was “rather patronizing.” In a BBC interview, he went on to say that it “demeans some sensible things in the Budget.” He continued, saying he first thought the piece was a spoof.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls described the campaign as “clumsy and ham-fisted.” He went on to tell reporters that “They cut tax on Bingo, which is a good thing. They took a penny off a pint of beer – you’ve got to drink one hundred pints to save a pound!”

The discussion then turned to other points of concern contained in the budget. Balls ranted: “They?! It was so patronizing! I can’t believe the chancellor. Did he really sign this advert off? Does he really think that he can just say to people who are working people, well look bingo and beer that’s all you care about? What about energy prices? What about youth jobs? What about getting on the housing ladder? What about small businesses who can’t get bank loans? On all those things he was silent. He’s not going to fob off and patronize people in our country.”

David Cameron’s spokesperson came out in support of the advert, saying that the prime minister has full confidence in Mr. Shapps and believed he is “doing a really good job” as the party’s chairman. He was not able to advise reporters of the last time Mr. Cameron played bingo or enjoyed a pint in a pub.

A lighthearted advertisement intended to reward the “makers, doers, and savers” brought criticism down from politicians, which is to be expected. The question is, what do ordinary voters think? Votes will surely decide.


Updated : June 1, 2014