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George Osborne attempts to maintain OBR independence

Despite severe criticism in the press regarding the reported independence of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) George Osborne has taken an unprecedented decision regarding the appointment of the future head of the OBR. He has passed over a veto to the Treasury Select Committee, the only committee in Parliament able to veto a ministerial appointment, as he attempts to maintain the independence of the OBR. So will this work?

There is no doubt that this move is high-risk and potentially desperate because we could see a situation in the future whereby George Osborne picks a new candidate for the OBR only to have his appointing rejected and blocked by the Treasury Select Committee. However, on the upside, there is no doubt that by effectively passing over responsibility for the final veto on the leader of the OBR it does strengthen government claims that the OBR is independent.

After being welcomed as a very significant move by George Osborne, the OBR has been at the centre of major criticism after Sir Alan Budd decided to leave after his short-term three-month tenure. This was despite the fact that the government and outside parties had believed he would retain his position as head of the OBR for many months to come.

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