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Osborne nominates OBR chair Chote for second term

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Chancellor George Osborne has nominated the incumbent Office for Budget Responsibility chair Robert Chote for a second five-year term.

Chote was the first permanent chairman of the OBR following its creation in 2010, and previously served as director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The decision comes almost two months after Treasury select committee chairman Andrew Tyrie called on the Chancellor to move more rapidly on the appointment.

In an early July statement, Tyrie said: “Given the importance of the OBR’s work, the Chancellor needs to take a decision on whether he is going to keep Robert Chote or replace him, and the sooner the better.”

Responding to the news of Osborne’s decision, Tyrie says: ““I am glad the Chancellor has made up his mind.”

Following the Chancellor’s decision, the TSC will hold a pre-appointment hearing to decide whether to approve Chote’s second term on 15 September.

At the same time, an independent review has decided against recommending an expansion of the OBR’s remit.

The study by chief economic adviser to the Treasury Sir Dave Ramsden calls on the OBR to strengthen its governance process and to work with the Treasury to put in place succession plans for committee members and long-standing staff members.

However, the report concluded that the remit of the OBR should not be expanded to include a formal role in auditing or costing opposition policies.

“Balancing wider recommendations to develop the OBR’s current duties, as well as considering risks to the OBR’s independence; potential burden on resources; and constitutional issues – including the impartiality of civil servants – the review concluded not to expand the OBR’s remit at this time,” a statement from the Treasury says.

Tyrie responds: “The review recommends against making any changes to the OBR’s remit. It also rejects the suggestion that the OBR cost political parties’ policies at elections.

“Among other things, it will be important to establish what discussions Sir Dave held with the political parties in coming to his conclusions.”

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