UK Government

HM Treasury (National): Chancellor announces Robert Chote as preferred Chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility

Press Release   •   Sep 09, 2010 14:33 BST

The Chancellor today announced Robert Chote as his preferred candidate for the Chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

In a letter to the Chair of the Treasury Select Committee (TSC), the Chancellor reaffirmed the commitment he made in July to provide the Committee with the power to veto the appointment of the Chair of the OBR. As such, Mr Chote’s appointment will be subject to a pre-appointment hearing before the TSC.

The Chancellor said:

"Robert Chote's experience and suitability to become the first chair of the permanent OBR is beyond doubt. As Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, he has been one of the most credible independent voices on the public finances, taxation and public spending.  I hope that the Treasury Select Committee will approve this appointment so that he can lead the OBR in its important work over the next 5 years."

Robert Chote said:

"I am delighted to have been nominated by the Chancellor as the next Chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility and look forward to meeting with the Treasury Select Committee. 

"The creation of the OBR is a great opportunity to ensure that the tax and spending decisions of this and future governments are informed by demonstrably rigorous and independent analysis of the outlook for the public finances and the economy.

"If my appointment is confirmed, I will ensure that the OBR draws on the fullest possible range of information and expertise, from within government and without, and that we will make and present our judgements without fear or favour."

Notes for Editors

1. Robert Chote has been Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) since 2002. He was previously adviser to the senior management of the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC and Economics Editor of the Financial Times. Robert was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge, and City University in the UK, and at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in the US.

2. In his letter to the Chair of the TSC  the Chancellor confirmed that he would not appoint a candidate who was judged unsuitable by the Committee. Robert Chote will appear before the TSC for a pre-appointment hearing. 

3. The Chancellor’s letter confirmed the expectation that the Chair of the OBR and the other members of the Budget Responsibility Committee (BRC) would have executive responsibility for producing official fiscal and economic forecasts, making the UK one of the few advanced economies to do so. It set out the Chancellor’s intention for the OBR to produce an update to the official economic and fiscal forecast before the end of the year, which will be able to take account of the outcome of the Spending Review, the outcome of which is due on 20 October. Consistent with the approach taken in the Budget, he envisages that the OBR will have a role to play in providing independent scrutiny of the costing of Annually Managed Expenditure (AME) policies.

4. It is expected that legislation for the OBR will be introduced in the autumn, in advance of which the Chancellor will consider the TSC’s report on establishing the statutory OBR. Terms of reference for the OBR will be published to cover the period until the legislation has received Royal Assent.

5. The position of Chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility was advertised in the media in July 2010. Ten applications for the position were received. A panel comprising Nicholas Macpherson and Dave Ramsden from the Treasury, Sir Alan Budd and an independent assessor, interviewed a number of candidates and made recommendations to the Chancellor, which informed his decision.  

6. Applications to the two member positions of the Budget Responsibility Committee close at 17:00 on 15 September. Future vacancies on the Budget Responsibility Committee will continue to be advertised.
About the OBR

7. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) was established on an interim basis on 17 May 2010, to produce an independent assessment of the public finances and the economy for the June Budget. Sir Alan Budd acted as the interim Chair of the OBR for the production of the pre-Budget and June Budget forecasts and left at the end of his 3 month contract. 

8. For more details please see the press notice announcing the establishment of the OBR:

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