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OBR chief wants guidance over whether to answer requests from opposition

Chote
Chote: ‘A clear steer’

Office for Budget Responsibility chair Robert Chote has questioned whether the body’s economic resources should be made available to opposition parties.

Chote, who is also director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, was formally appointed as OBR chair by the Treasury select committee last week.

The OBR was set up by the coalition Government to monitor public spending and verify economic forecasts. Its independence was called into question after it emerged that, under its former chair, Sir Alan Budd, the OBR had revised down its forecasts of public sector job losses ahead of the emergency Budget.

At his pre-appointment hearing last week, Chote told MPs that he has no desire to see the OBR as a “one-Parliament wonder.”

He called for clarity on whether the OBR should respond to requests from opposition parties, in order to truly establish the body’s independence.

He said: “Whether the OBR should respond to requests from opposition parties for private or public advice is, I think, a very important question. It is also a very important question for Parliament and one where I would very much like to have a clear steer both from this committee and also in the eventual legislation as to whether that is part of the role.”

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