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Budd ‘regrets misunderstanding’ over OBR role

Outgoing chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility Sir Alan Budd has apologised over any ’misunderstanding’ that arose over the length of time he would stay in the role.

It emerged last week that Budd (pictured) would be leaving as chairman after just three months in the job. The announcement of Budd’s departure was then followed by concerns over the forecasting body’s independence, as it was claimed that public sector job losses figures had been reduced ahead of the emergency Budget.

Giving evidence to the newly appointed Treasury select committee this morning, Budd told MPs that the OBR didn’t come under any pressure to change the numbers within its forecasts, nor was there any pressure to bring forward their publication.

Labour MP for Streatham Chuka Umunna questioned Budd as to why it was not mentioned before that he would stay in the position for three months.

Umunna cited the press notice released when the OBR’s creation was formally announced which quoted Budd as saying: “It is quite remarkable that the Chancellor has given us the authority to produce independent forecasts for the Budget and the pre-Budget report and to provide a public assessment of the action needed to achieve his fiscal mandate and I consider it the most exciting challenge of my professional life.”

Umunna asked Budd: “So the impression given by those comments is certainly that you were going to be in position through to the autumn. Could you perhaps expand for our benefit on the reasons why you decided to leave and perhaps clear up any speculation that it has anything to do with there being a big disagreement between yourself and the Chancellor?”

Budd told the committee: “I think that on the day on which the announcement was made our contracts were available to anybody who wished to see them and it was certainly no intention of mine to mislead anybody about the time which I would spend on the job. What I was not clear about was how long it would take to perform the task which was allocated to the OBR. There’s not a single person who knows me who was not aware that I was only doing this for the emergency Budget. So I regret that there has been a misunderstanding in this matter.”

As the evidence session closed, Budd added: “The events of the past few weeks have personally been very painful indeed. But I don’t complain about that. I volunteered for the job. But I would be deeply sorry if any of the mud that has been thrown at me stuck to the OBR because I do believe it’s a brilliant and courageous innovation. That to me would be a real pity.”

Budd leaves as chairman of the OBR on August 13.

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Comments

There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Oh for pity sake, who is this Tory Sir Alan Budd trying to kid? Of course he was pressurised to manipulate the figures and of course he has had a major disagreement with Osbourne. Budd realises along with virtually every other top economist that these Tory led ConDem cuts, are too fast and way too deep and they are going to force us into a double dip recession, worse it could even be a depression.
    You only have to listen to Budd speaking about the economy and how growth forecasts have been down graded by the IMF, add to that figures out this morning appear to back up that we are headed for a double dip. Also for the second time, house prices have fallen.

    Wake up Osbourne, Cameron and Clegg are the most incompetent inept inexperienced ex spin doctor spivs, who have never had a real job and now they are running this country?
    Unless someone manages to stop these buffoons, this country is going one way DOWN.

    FGS please bring back Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, we should never have got rid of them, they are the only two men able to keep this country on the right track. What kind of idiocy possessed the people of this country, to blame them for the GLOBAL financial recession and a banking collapse? What kind of idiots vote them out when they managed to get this country out of the dire situation it was in and return it to growth and recovery inside two years?
    The deficit was necessary but would have been tackled and halved in four years.

    What the hell have we done?

    ConDems OUT..OUT…OUT

    TORIES are shafting us AGAIN and PRIVATISING the NHS

    Get The OUT!

    And GET UNELECTED Lib Dem BETRAYERS!

  2. Excellent left wing rant. As ever, away with the fairies.

  3. Thank you anonymous for that vitriolic political rant – it seems you boast a highly selective memory. Gormless Gordon inherited public finances that were the strongest they had ever been. To pacify markets who knew what we were getting he had to keep to Tory spending plans for 5 years. But then they took the leash off and he spent the next 5 years mortgaging our children’s futures and selling our gold reserves at the lowest possible point to balance the books.

    The banking crisis was merely the final nail in his political coffin.

    No one with any sense blames Brown and Darling for the Global economic crisis. But we can blame him for setting up the “most powerful regulator in the world”, our good friends in Canary Wharf – who have actually proved themselves utterly useless by any measure. We can blame them for their profligate spending on overweight bureaucracy that was bringing the country to its knees before the crash. We can blame them for cutting VAT which achieved nothing apart from costing the exchequer a fortune that now has to be reclaimed.

    Have them back – I’d leave the country…

    It has become increasingly clear that had a new British Government of whatever political shade failed to act to correct the UK’s huge budget deficit we would have been in a similar mess to the PIGS. The damage would have been far worse and lasted far longer.

    As a taxpayer the other good news is that the overblown pensions of civil servants costing c 35% of salary may at last be tackled as well. I can forsee a winter of discontent but these boils MUST finally be lanced.

  4. The moderators are not doing their job properly here.

    Surely they’ve inadvertantly left out the final payoff line of that first, sarcasm soaked, comment i.e. “nah just kidding, I realise Tony Bliar and New Labour brought the country to its knees”…

  5. Re comments from first contributor.
    Excellent. The Coalition (if you can actually call it that) is taking old ideas and dressing them up as new ones. The old ideas produced a prolonged recession. End of.

  6. Ewart Matthias 14th July 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Fact: the UK economy has the highest level of debt as a percentage of its net GDP at 66% of the top 25 economies in the world. It has increased the debt by 24% between 2005 and 2009, again a record we should never have.

    Sadly we will all have to feel the pain of incompetence and greed, not to mention previous spin in the extreme. This is what you get when ideology gets in the way of common sense. Some people need to wake up.

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