Thursday 15 July 2010

George Osborne joins Nick Clegg's Progressive Church of St Augustine

Its time to find two cheers for Chancellor George Osborne.

Cheer one: He has told the Treasury Select Committee that the Parliamentary committee will, following confirmation hearings, have the power to veto the appointment of the new Chair of the Office of Budget Responsibility.

It is a good move and was essential if the OBR was to establish credibility after a troubled start. This blog was first to call for Parliament to be involved in making the appointment, following Alan Budd's departure, with a wide range of voices arguing that this was needed if the OBR was not to fail to establish confidence. (And Craig Berry had been ahead of the game back in May in predicting teething troubles over the OBR's independence).

Cheer two: This blog has previously endorsed the Chancellor's view that a fairer society and reducing the gap between rich and poor is a responsibility of government.

Unfortunately, we must withhold any third cheer, until the Chancellor produces a budget consistent with that belief.

Instead, Osborne joins Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander as "IFS deniers", continuing to try to hold out against the clear independent evidence showing that the government's budget decisions have been regressive.

So Osborne today rejected pressure from Treasury Select Committee Chair Andrew Tyrie, Labour MPs Chuka Umunna and John Mann to produce another one of his fabulous graphs so as to show the impact

Indeed, Osborne employed the Clegg defence: that it would be unfair to produce independent analysis showing that the measures announced to date have a sharply regressive impact, since the model would not model or ">measure future good intentions to produce more progressive policies in future budgets.

It is unfortunate that the IFS have yet to develop a future intention modelling tool.

Clearly Osborne, like Clegg, worships at the Progressive Church of St Augustine.

May the good Lord will make their budgets progressive - but not yet.

No comments: