The hon. Gentleman makes a good point: the rise in the fuel price has given the Chancellor money for which he did not budget, so to that extent resources are available that he can deploy in that context, with little impact on his original forecast. I think that the Government have the worst of both worlds. They have betrayed an important group of employees for zero impact on inflation.
My final point is that the Government have made a political mistake. Previous Home Secretaries—particularly the somewhat larger ones—would have had a confrontation with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and would not have agreed to the demand to stage. That would then have escalated into the Cabinet. At that point I suspect that Tony Blair and the Cabinet would have sided with the Home Secretary; the increase would have gone through and the Government would have avoided the pickle that they are in. We are paying the price for the Prime Minister still believing that he is Chancellor, and the absence of substantial counterweights in the Cabinet. My view is that if the present Home Secretary had dug in her heels and threatened to resign over this she would have won. She would have been unsackable in the first few weeks after her appointment had she made an issue out of it. The Government have made a political and economic mistake that I believe they will live to regret.