A coalition of seven political parties yesterday failed to reach a consensus on how to solve the budget deficit, due to differences on issues including taxation and public spending. Yesterday, an academic said the failure meant the government had broken up the informal alliance between the groups after the leaders of two pro-government parties joined the Executive Council in the summer. The coalition, comprising all major parties except the Breakfast Group of non-affiliated legislators, managed only to agree to call on the government to streamline the establishment, to call a summit on how to tackle the deficit and to keep mild fuel tax concessions. Speaking after the coalition meeting, spokesman Sin Chung-kai, a Democrat, said major differences between the parties had prevented any broad agreement. 'We all have different views on how to solve the budget deficit. It was difficult to form any consensus. Although our co-operation has yielded some level of success, it was not big,' he said. The coalition has held a series of meetings since the Breakfast Group pulled out in September. Members did agree to a joint call for the government to scrap posts left vacant after civil servants take voluntary retirement. It is proposed to introduce this scheme next year. They also agreed that existing tax concessions on fuel should be kept for the coming year. The concessions are estimated to cost the Treasury a total of $1.9 billion. The coalition urged the government to call a summit on the budget deficit. The requests have been sent to Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung. Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a political scientist at City University, said the government had succeeded in splitting the informal coalition by appointing James Tien Pei-chun, Liberal Party leader, and Tsang Yok-sing, of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong, on to the Executive Council. It was not unusual that no consensus had been reached. 'The coalition has entered a period of hibernation,' he said.