* Darling denies hiding tax hike for millions
* Doubt grows over £11bn 'efficiency savings'
* Chancellor stands by 'rosy' economic forecast
Alistair Darling today stood by his 'wildly optimistic' economic forecasts as he dismissed calls to slash public spending and denied hiding a tax hike for millions in his Budget speech.In his final Budget before the election, the Chancellor refused to start belt-tightening this year - counting on his forecasts of a return to growth to help repay an unprecedented national debt.As his many of his measures were dismissed as cheap electioneering, Mr Darling asked voters to believe the route to recovery lies in a £15billion stealth tax raid on middle earners and yet more cash for public services.Mr Darling failed to spell out that millions will be hit by frozen income tax allowances next month and a 1p rise in National Insurance next year, but said it was only fair that those who have done well in Labour's boom years now helped to balance the books.And he faced incredulity after suggesting Government departments could make 'efficiency savings' of £11billion - without cutting a single job - but by taking measures such as turning off the lights in Government buildings. ...."