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UK Treasury Committee asks for independent economic forecast after market chaos

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – In this illustration photo British pound banknotes are seen in London, United Kingdom on September 21, 2022. ( Raşid Necati Aslım - Anadolu Agency )
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Sep 30, 2022 - 10:28 AM

LONDON (AA) – The British parliament’s Treasury Select Committee called on Thursday for Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng to release a full and independent economic forecast by the end of October, a full month earlier than planned.

The cross-party committee is chaired by an MP belonging to the ruling center-right Conservative Party.

The committee called for a forecast from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

Kwarteng previously said this would be released alongside his full budget on Nov. 23, when he would outline a medium-term fiscal plan.

The Treasury Select Committee also called for his November budget to be brought forward “as early a date as possible.”

His mini-budget last Friday, which heaped £45 billion ($​​​​​​​49.9 billion) in tax cuts funded through borrowing on top of a multi-billion-pound energy bailout, send markets into turmoil, with the pound plummeting and the cost of government borrowing surging.

Mel Stride, Conservative MP and chair of the Treasury Select Committee, wrote in his letter to Kwarteng that it was “hard to conclude other than that an absence of a forecast has in some part driven the lack of confidence in markets.”

“Some have formed the unfortunate impression that the government may be seeking to avoid scrutiny, possibly on account of expecting the OBR forecast to be unsupportive of the achievement of the economic outcomes the government expects from the Growth Plan, including 2.5% trend growth in the medium term,” he said.

Stride added: “The OBR was standing by ready to provide a meaningful forecast alongside the 23 September statement had the Treasury requested it. No such request was received.”

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