Osborne ready for relaunch after admitting Budget 2012 ‘regrets’

Chancellor George Osborne says the government will be "100%" focused on the economy after last week's bruising election results.

The Conservatives lost 405 councillors in local elections across England, Wales and Scotland last Thursday, following weeks of negative headlines for the government about the 'pasty tax', the 'granny tax' and the 50p tax cut for Britain's richest.

"The way the Budget was presented meant this message wasn’t heard. I take responsibility for that," Mr Osborne conceded in an article for the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

He said the local elections had produced a "tough result" for the coalition, writing: "People know we've had to make unpopular decisions to fix the country's problems but they want us to remember that times aren’t easy for families. So they are making sure that times aren't easy for the government either. I get that."

This morning the chancellor appeared to signal his readiness to respond to the concerns of backbench Tory MPs that ministers must do more to respond to voters' concerns in double-dip recession Britain.

"The government understands your message," he told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show.

"We take it on the chin and we have got listen to what you are saying… what people are saying is focus on the things which really matter like the economy, welfare, education, crime and the NHS… and not get distracted by too many other issues."

Backbench Tories are especially frustrated with the Liberal Democrats' interest in legalising gay marriage and reforming the House of Lords.

"Parliament can discuss these issues… but it is certainly not my priority, it is not the priority of the government," Mr Osborne added.

"It is not where the efforts of the government, of the executive are going to be directed."