CHANCELLOR Alistair Darling has hinted that the government could still hold a review of public spending before going to the country in a general election.
In a newspaper interview, he said that the government would have to tell people "the lie of the land" when it came to the public finances.
His comments will be seen as a rebuff to Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, who suggested recently that plans for a department-by-department spending review had been abandoned ahead of the election.
Mr Darling said: "I'm very clear that we do have to tell people the lie of the land. People will understand there are uncertainties, but we do have to set out our stall. Public spending will be tighter than it has been in the past."