Local MP accuses Government over Treasury Figures

An MP campaigning to leave the European Union has accused government of imposing its own agenda by publishing financial research which is now the remit of the Independent Office of Budget Responsibility. Set up by the Chancellor after the public and markets lost confidence in government’s economic forecasts, the body produces independent analysis of Britain’s finances. But Shipley MP Philip Davies wants to know why the government needed to produce a Treasury analysis of how Britain would lose out if it left the European Union. In the Commons he said: “When the Chancellor set up the Office for Budget Responsibility, he said that “the public and the markets have completely lost confidence in government economic forecasts. He went on to say: “Again and again, the temptation to fiddle the figures, to nudge up a growth forecast here or reduce a borrowing number there to make the numbers add up has proved too great… But I am the first Chancellor to remove the temptation to fiddle the figures by giving up control over the economic and fiscal forecast.” Mr Davies demanded answers as to why ministerial position had now changed. He added: “The comments made by the Chancellor clearly do not reflect current policy as the Treasury has published its own forecast, which can only mean that if the OBR was to do the same it would not be to the Government’s liking. Treasury Minister David Gauke said: “The remit of the Office for Budget Responsibility is set out in legislation, and it can set out forecasts only in accordance with Government policy. The report, signed off by Sir Charles Bean, said that “this comprehensive analysis by HM Treasury, which employs best-practice techniques, provides reasonable estimates of the likely size of the short-term impact of a vote to leave on the UK economy.”