» Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Office for Budget Responsibility

Asked where the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) was based, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) told the assembled press that he believed it had office space in the Treasury building.

When questioned if the OBR was guarded about its independence, the PMS said that this was a question for them, but it was an independent body.

Asked if Downing Street had contacted the OBR in the last two days, the PMS said he was not aware that it had.

Asked when the Prime Minister had seen the OBR figures published that day, the PMS said he would have seen them this morning.

When it was suggested that the timing of publication was convenient after high unemployment figures had been reported, the PMS responded that the OBR had said previously it would deal with questions that were raised about the forecasts it had published alongside the Budget.

It was the PMS’ understanding that the OBR had been due to publish these figures the following day but, given misleading reports in the press that morning, they had decided to bring publication forward. OBR forecasts were not bound by National Statistics rules.

Asked whether public sector employment would fall faster post-Budget than pre-Budget, the PMS said that public sector employment was expected to fall by 460,000 over five years under previous plans. The post-Budget projection was for a fall of 490,000.

Asked why the OBR was not based elsewhere, the PMS said a Bill would be introduced later in the year to establish the OBR on a statutory footing. New legislation would set out what its functions would be.

Asked how to contact the OBR, the PMS said to ask the Treasury about arrangements, but the OBR would speak for itself.

When questioned where the unemployment figures printed in the press that morning had come from, the PMS said that we did not comment on suspected leaks.

original source.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news

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