Darling slammed for hiding spending cuts

Steve Dinneen
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ALISTAIR Darling was yesterday accused of hiding “deep cuts” in departmental spending until after the election.

The chancellor was grilled about which services will face cuts at an all-party Treasury Committee yesterday.

Opposition MPs claimed he was holding back from announcing cuts.

Michael Fallon, Conservative MP for Sevenoaks, told City A.M.: “They are hiding deep cuts in departmental budgets that we are going to see from 2011.

“I know for a fact they have looked at which services will be cut and I think the Treasury would like to have been more specific about them.

“But they have been stopped ­­– and the reason is to shield themselves in the lead-up to the election.

“The cuts are certainly going to be in areas that will affect taxpayers. Areas at risk seem to be transport, the environment, arts, even the Crossrail project.”

Darling also faced accusations that the Bank of England could struggle to sell the gilts they have bought through their quantitative easing measures.

Andrew Tyrie, Conservative MP for Chichester, believes demand for the gilts will fall after quantitative easing is stopped.

Darling later admitted that his tax on bankers’ bonuses is “not a great revenue raiser”, after an opposition MP suggested the government could raise an extra £200m by scrapping the tax altogether.

He said: “This measure is not a great revenue raiser, it doesn’t actually bring in that much – what it does do though is send a clear signal that we need to change behaviour.”