Robert Chote – Chairman, Office for Budget Responsibility

‘UK Economic and Fiscal Outlook’
13th April 2011 – Lunch, 12.30 pm

Fishburn Hedges, 77 Kingsway, WC2B 6SR

Robert started off by covering role of OBR before (in his words) “taking a quick canter through slides on forecast economy and public finances”.  The OBR became legal at 9.43 p.m. on the night before the budget.  It had actually been set up pretty much straight after the election as it was a key tenet of the Coalition manifesto.

Since then it has gained a more formal structure, left the HMT building and recruited its own staff of under 20.

The OBR is responsible for examining and reporting on the sustainability of public finances.  Its predictions cover a 5 year time line.  In effect it comments on whether – on the basis of the Government’s forecasts – it is more likely or not that the Government is on course to achieve targets it has set itself.  It intends to publish in July a review of the long term sustainability of public finances over a 40/50 year time line.   In terms of economy it doesn’t have access to anything significant on economy that isn’t available to anyone else.

Robert then went on to present the OBR views on the economic climate and recovery.  He then answered questions which included among others: on what impact would happen if Government isn’t able to cut spending in the way it is planned; what role OBR could have played in the financial crisis had it been in place in 2007; where the Government are going to get revenues to replace those of financial services companies; what Roberts’s views were on the balance of plans to cut spending or increases taxes as announced by the two main parties.

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