After Liam Byrne being forced to backtrack on his claim that no further taxes would be needed to repay the debt, Lord Mandelson, the First Secretary of State, has now admitted that taxes may have to rise further and that public spending will also have to come under scrutiny to tackle the UK's deficit.

This comes on the day that the latest figures indicated that Darling may not have to commit the country to as much debt this year as previously thought. The Office for National Statistics says that the government borrowed £12.4 billion in February, which was £2.35 billion less than expected and January's borrowing was revised down to just £43 million. The original estimate of borrowing a total of £178 billion may be up to £5 billion more than actually needed.

But whilst some Labour ministers are busy worrying about the UK deficit, another is looking at ways of spending government money.

In written Commons answer, the Junior Schools Minister Diana Johnson admitted that the total bill for refurbishing the offices for Ed Balls' Department for Children, Schools and Families over the last three years has come to £14,512,287.

Within that bill was a cost for potted plants of £81,630.

Ms Johnson then added that vacating their previous premises in Caxton House had saved them £13 million a year in running costs.

THE Royal Navy are now being expected to forego the tradition of giving a cocktail party on the first night in a foreign port in order to save the country the grand total of about £60,000 per year. These cocktail parties (or 'Cockers P' in the naval parlance) are looked forward to by locals and go a long way toward showing the UK in a businesslike and efficient light. Well worth the costs.

Now compare that with some office potted plants and you see where the government's priorities lie.

But what should really worry us is that tax rises may be being considered even though the figures aren't quite, at the moment, as bad as initially thought. That should be a strong indicator to the true state of the country's economy.

Related article: Tax rises to come

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