Think-tank director Robert Chote to be new OBR chief

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Economist Robert Chote is set to become the new head of the Government's tax and spending watchdog, it was announced today.

Mr Chote, director of influential think-tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies, has been selected to succeed Sir Alan Budd at the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

The appointment, revealed by Chancellor George Osborne, is subject to approval by MPs.

Mr Osborne said Mr Chote's "experience and suitability" for the role 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," the Chancellor said.

"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 five years."

Mr Chote said he was "delighted to have been nominated by the Chancellor", and looked forward to his pre-appointment hearing with the Treasury Select Committee, which has a veto over who gets the job.

He said if he was confirmed the watchdog would present judgments "without fear or favour".

"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," he added.

The coalition created the OBR when it came to power in May, to provide an independent assessment of how the Government was running the public finances.

Mr Osborne insisted its existence would prevent ministers from manipulating data and forecasts for political purposes.

However, the fledgling body was soon embroiled in controversy after it rushed out figures contradicting a report in the Guardian that the coalition Government's first Budget would cost 1.3 million jobs.

It has also suggested that the coalition's deep spending cuts have increased the risk of a double-dip recession.

Sir Alan stepped down after seeing out his initial three-month contract, saying he had always intended to leave after setting up the body.

Mr Chote has been director of the IFS since 2002, successfully cementing its reputation as a trusted arbiter of economic policy.

He was previously adviser to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, and Economics Editor of the Financial Times.