Brown gets lecture in economics from Poles

PM also faces spending watchdog inquiry over Whitehall efficiency savings

Gordon Brown came under fire both at home and abroad yesterday over the state of Britain's finances.

On a visit to Poland, he had to listen to its Prime Minister pointedly criticise countries that tried to spend their way of recession.

And back in Britain Mr Brown was accused by Frank Field, a former Labour minister, of "irresponsible" mismanagement of the public finances after the Budget signalled record borrowing of £175bn this year. Mr Field warned that Britain was "sleepwalking into a mega-crisis". Amid scepticism over the Government's economic strategy, The Independent has learned that the National Audit Office, the public spending watchdog, is to investigate the drive to save tens of billions of pounds in Whitehall costs.

Meanwhile, Labour was facing a potentially embarrassing revolt over its new legislation for Gurkha veterans, after it emerged that dozens of its own backbenchers could vote against the Government in a Commons motion that will be triggered today by the Liberal Democrats.

Standing alongside Mr Brown at a press conference in Warsaw yesterday, the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said his policy of "strict supervision" of the banking sector and a refusal to live on credit had proved the best way of averting economic disaster. Poland has managed to avoid the ravages of the credit crunch, enjoying 12 consecutive years of growth, while Britain's national debt is set to double by 2013.

Mr Tusk said: "The Polish government at a time of financial crisis behaved with full responsibility in terms of its public funds and the budget deficit. The method we have taken in respect to the crisis is not to multiply public expenditure but to be responsible with public funds."

Mr Tusk is not the first world leader to discomfort the Prime Minister over his stewardship of the economy. Last month, the Chilean leader Michelle Bachelet said savings built up during the years of plenty had eased the impact of the recession in her country.

George Osborne, the shadow Chancellor, said the Prime Minister had been given a "lecture on prudence" by the Polish premier. He added: "We are used to Polish builders telling us to fix the roof while the sun was shining, not the Polish Prime Minister as well."

Mr Field joined forces with Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, to deliver a withering critique of last week's Budget. They forecast that the Government could be forced into "slash and burn" cuts to reduce the mountain of public debt. The MPs said the Government had failed to set out a clear strategy for cutting the Budget deficit, protesting that it had delayed detailed plans on tax and spending until after the election expected next spring. In a Commons motion yesterday, they warned of, "the real danger the country faces in borrowing relatively more than any other G8 country to balance the national accounts".

They echoed warnings that ministers could be forced to axe major spending programmes beyond the efficiency savings already outlined in the Budget by Alistair Darling. The Chancellor demanded further savings of £15bn over the next two years when he announced his Budget last week, on top of a long-running efficiency drive which the Government claims has already saved £26bn. But economists have warned that the savings can be very hard to achieve and measure.

Edward Leigh, the Tory chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, has asked the National Audit Office to investigate cost-cutting.

The Independent disclosed yesterday that Cabinet ministers are privately questioning the future of the identity card scheme, while many Labour MPs believe the planned £25bn replacement to Trident should be axed. David Blunkett, the former home secretary, yesterday suggested the Government should scrap plans to introduce ID cards for British nationals and issue universal biometric passports instead.

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
News
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Systems & Data Lead – Oxfordshire – Permanent – Up to £24k

£20000 - £24000 Per Annum 28 days holiday, free parking, pension: Clearwater P...

Digital Media Manager

£38000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

Primary Supply Teacher in Stevenage

£115 - £121 per day: Randstad Education Luton: primary teacher Hertfordshire

Year 3 & Year 4 Teachers Wanted

£115 - £121 per day: Randstad Education Luton: year 3 & 4 teacher Hertfordshir...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?