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MPs tell Treasury to mind its own business

The Treasury has been criticised by an influential committee of MPs for interfering in other Government departments&#39 initiatives such as stakeholder pensions.

The Labour-majority Treasury select committee, chaired by prominent Labour back-bencher Giles Radice, says the department is broadly expanding its influence in other departments&#39 remits and it should instead concentrate on areas in which it is responsible.

The report uses stakeholder pensions and welfare reform as examples which should fall within the Department of Social Security&#39s remit but where the Treasury has had significant influence.

The report calls upon the Government to issue a statement detailing the relationships between the Treasury and other departments when it comes to public spending and micro-economic policy.

The report says: “Moving into these areas has inevitably caused the Treasury to step on the toes of other departments and has given the impression that the strategic direction of the Government in many areas is being set by the Treasury.”

Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable, one of the most outspoken critics of the Treasury, says: “It is getting involved in quite detailed areas like stakeholder pensions.

“It should be spending more time taking a close look at the inner workings of the FSA and not involve itself in other departments&#39 policy areas.”

A Treasury spokesman says: “The Treasury as the guardian of the public purse clearly has a role within all other Government departments. Savings are an important part of future spending and the Treasury has a clear role in encouraging this.”

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