Kwasi Kwarteng urged to allow release of OBR forecasts with mini-budget | Economic policy

The Tory chair of the Treasury select committee has urged Kwasi Kwarteng to allow independent forecasts for the public finances to be published alongside his mini-budget on Friday.

Mel Stride released a strongly worded statement urging more clarity around the effects of the new chancellor’s fiscal interventions.

Kwarteng is expected to unveil tax cuts running to £30bn-£50bn, according to some estimates, while the government’s intervention to freeze energy prices for consumers and businesses could cost more than £100bn. He is also expected to review his fiscal rules to allow the government to borrow more.

Stride, an ally of the former chancellor and defeated leadership contender Rishi Sunak, said independent forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility were necessary to “provide reassurance and confidence to international markets and investors”.

He said: “As a committee, we have in the past reported to the house that we consider it very important that significant changes to taxation are announced in a fiscal event alongside an OBR forecast. These forecasts are a vital indicator of the health of the nation’s finances, and provide reassurance and confidence to international markets and investors.

“There has been a deterioration in our economic outlook since the last OBR forecast in March. There have been significant fiscal interventions since then and we are told there will be further significant interventions including major permanent tax cuts to be announced on Friday. Under these circumstances, it is vital that an independent OBR forecast is provided.”

The OBR has said it stands ready to provide a forecast but so far none has been commissioned by the government.

Stride has previously said that an absence of fiscal forecasts would mean the new prime minister is “flying blind” without the public being able to see an independent assessment of the government’s balance sheet.

But the second statement indicates there may be discontent among more backbench Tories about the new government’s willingness to hold fiscal events without independent scrutiny.

As well as the mini-budget on Friday, there is expected to be a statement from Jacob Rees-Mogg, the business secretary, on Wednesday, outlining an energy support package for businesses.

Michelle Donelan, the culture secretary, told broadcasters on Tuesday morning that the government understood why businesses wanted “clarity and assurance”.

She said: “Many companies and public sector organisations will need additional support and that is why we want to work up a tailored package to target that support and make sure that support is really the correct support.”

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