THE PUBLIC Accounts Committee (PAC) this morning blasted the Treasury for focusing solely on its economic mission and “appearing to neglect” its role as finance ministry.
Labour’s Margaret Hodge, PAC chair, accused the department, run by chancellor George Osborne, of producing “impenetrable accounts” and failing to properly oversee a proliferation of “instances of poor decision making.”
Hodge singled out staff turnover as one cause of the problems, which include the failure to recover the £66bn spent bailing out Lloyds and RBS (the government’s stakes are now worth just £34bn), the risk of indemnifying the Bank of England against future losses on the quantitative easing programme and the lacklustre performance of the economy.
She focused particular criticism on government schemes designed to boost loans. “The Treasury’s attempts to stimulate economic growth through new lending have not been successful,” Hodge said.
“The National Loans Guarantee Scheme achieved just 15 per cent of its intended take-up and has now been superseded by a more generous Bank scheme.”
“Throughout, the Treasury seems to be embarking on a series of expensive experiments, indemnified with taxpayers’ money,” Hodge added.