Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Monday, 11 June 2012 16:23 UK

Government accused of 'sneaking out' Budget U-turns

The government tried to "sneak out" changes to the budget during the parliamentary recess "when it hoped no-one was listening", shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves has said.

On 11 June 2012, as MPs returned from their Whitsun break, Commons Speaker John Bercow granted the Labour MP an urgent question on Budget U-turns.

Ministers have reversed plans to alter taxes on hot takeaway food, static caravans, and the rules governing tax relief on charitable giving.

Ms Reeves concluded from the timing of the announcements: "This is a government that does not like to be held accountable for its mistakes."

It was a sign of "incompetence", she added.

Treasury Minister David Gauke accused Labour of believing that there was a "magic money tree" that would solve the UK's fiscal difficulties.

The previous government had not been immune from Budget U-turns, he said, drawing attention to then Chancellor Gordon Brown's 2007 decision to abolish the 10p rate of income tax.

That was a true "Budget shambles", he said.

Conservative MP Peter Bone highlighted the role backbenchers had played in the campaign for the policy changes.

"The government should not apologise for doing these U-turns; it is parliamentary democracy at work," he said.

But Labour's Stephen Timms wondered if the government had not needed the money to be raised by the measures that had been scrapped, "why then were they announced in the first place?"

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