"There is an alarming divide within the Government between the Chancellor and the Prime Minister," said the Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor.
Commenting on Alistair Darling's remarks on the need for tough spending cuts, which are being seen as a victory for the Chancellor and Lord Mandelson's views over those of Gordon Brown, Vince Cable said:
"It is very clear that the Pre-Budget Report did not reflect Alistair Darling's views on how the economy should be managed.
"There is an alarming divide within the Government between the Chancellor and the Prime Minister, and between some ministers who take the public finance problem seriously - like Lord Mandelson - and others, like Ed Balls, who don't.
"We desperately need a more coherent approach to this problem, including a set of objective tests as to when the Government should embark upon a tightening of the budget, and how quickly this should happen.
"The economy can't be managed on the back of power-play between Government ministers. We need a national plan."