The Treasury select committee has formally demanded that the Office for Budget Responsibility have its independence enshrined in law, as the Government gears up to establish the organisation in statute later this year.
The MP committee has called for the OBR to be responsible for appointing its own staff and required by law to be independent, with provision for a small group of non-executive directors to support it, in a report on the Office.
The report also demands that the committee’s power to veto the appointment or dismissal of the chair of the permanent body and members of the budget responsibility committee be written in statute.
The renewed calls for independence come after the OBR’s first chairman Sir Alan Budd left after just three months, amid accusations he issued public sector job cut forecasts in a way that assisted Prime Minister David Cameron. Institute for Fiscal Studies head Robert Chote was last week named as his replacement.
Treasury select committee chairman Andrew Tyrie (pictured) says: “The committee last week approved the appointment of Robert Chote to chair the organisation for the next five years and is pleased that someone who has demonstrated both his economic expertise and strong independence of mind will be running it.”
He adds: “For the OBR to succeed, it will have to be, and be seen to be, independent, particularly after the difficult early period of the interim body. Picking the right people for the OBR is important, but not enough.”