Labour claims George Osborne is trying to avoid debating the cuts planned in the event of a Conservative election victory, after learning that the chancellor will not be at the last Treasury questions session before the General Election. Osborne will be attending the Ecofin meeting of EU finance ministers instead.
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls only learned Osborne would not be answering questions from him and other MPs late yesterday evening.
The EU meeting is a long standing commitment, and often a junior treasury minister attends instead. If Osborne is not going to be present for Treasury questions, he normally gives Balls more notice than he received yesterday.
Balls wrote to Osborne, asking questions about potential post-election cuts. He wrote: “The Conservative party has today failed to contest a single point of Labour’s analysis. You have instead chosen to dishonestly claim that your plans will lead to a total £30bn of cuts when the real figure is more than double this.”
Balls also asks questions on the spending cuts required in order for Osborne to meet his target of a budget surplus by 2019-20.