Gordon Brown Accused Of Hiding How Bad Britain’s Finances Are

(Telegraph) – A FORMER CABINET MINISTER¬†accused Gordon Brown yesterday of trying to hide just how bad Britain’s finances are.

Charles Clarke said he believed the Prime Minister had prevented a full picture being given in last week’s Pre-Budget Report (PBR) because he was ”frightened” of voters’ reaction.

Instead, the package merely ”recycled old political dividing lines” ahead of the impending general election, according to the former Home Secretary.

Mr Clarke has been a regular critic of Mr Brown since leaving government, but his latest intervention could prove particularly damaging as Labour and the Tories do battle over the economy.

Writing on his blog, the Norwich South MP said the PBR should have been about acting in the ”national interest” rather than pursuing ”crude party advantage”.

The Government should have admitted that it made ”serious misjudgements” in the run up to the credit crunch, and had now learned lessons.

The Tories have been critical of the report, claiming the government’s political motives were put ahead of the economic needs of the country. Alistair Darling has delayed cuts in public spending until 2011.

”Though the truth about the complicated discussions between the Prime Minister and the Chancellor will not be known for many years, I suspect that the reason why this Pre-Budget Report has been so disappointing is that the Prime Minister used his constitutional authority as First Lord of the Treasury to ensure that no full account of our economic predicament was provided, no systematic reform of banking was promoted and no clear account of Labour’s approach to closing the fiscal deficit was made,” Mr Clarke wrote.

”He felt that the main purpose of this pre-election Pre-Budget Report was to recycle his old political dividing lines.

”This weakness can only come from fear of discussion of our past failures and fear that it is too dangerous to set out our future plans.”