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.

Sport
Mourinho lost his temper as well as the match
sportLiverpool handed title boost as Sunderland smash manager’s 77-game home league run
Voices
Sweet tweet: Victoria Beckham’s selfie, taken on her 40th birthday on Thursday
voices... and her career-long attack on the absurd criteria by which we define our 'betters', by Ellen E Jones
Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
Arts & Entertainment
Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the novels since the mid-Nineties
books
News
Easter a dangerous time for dogs
these are the new ones. Old ones are below them... news
News
Brand said he
people
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Sport
Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters
sport
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit