Chancellor Alistair Darling is set to announce that the UK faces “hard choices on public spending” after it emerges from recession.

In a keynote lecture to the Chambers of Commerce at Cardiff City Stadium, Mr Darling will say he “won’t flinch” from taking the decisions necessary to revive the economy. He will not, however, commit himself to stating which public services will be cut, preferring to tell Parliament later in the year.

He will say: “We won’t flinch from difficult decisions. But we will always be guided by our core values of fairness and responsibility.”

In an attack on the Tories, he will add: ‘There are those who have used this crisis to justify widespread cuts in public expenditure without spelling out their economic and social impacts.

“We have to focus on the limits of what government can do and areas where we can step back - so that public investment and private endeavour can work hand in hand.”