Daily Archives: June 8, 2010

Here’s the final list of hopefuls for election to be select committee chairmen and the nominations from MPs they’ve managed to pick up.

For Westminster insiders, it’s a fascinating insight into some of the bare-knuckle fights that have been going on behind the scenes. Just as an example, I’ve highlighted the pledges made for the Treasury select committee contest between Michael Fallon and Andrew Tyrie. 

Rachel Sylvester has a characteristically fun and insightful column in today’s Times on how football loving Labour have been replaced by a coalition that plays a very different (and more individualistic) game.

She’s spot on apart from one slur against a football mad cabinet minister that should not go uncorrected. This is the offending passage:

It’s not only the top two players who are agnostic about footie. There are few fans, out of the closet, on the Liberal-Conservative front bench.

William Hague’s sport of choice is judo, Vince Cable likes ballroom dancing and George Osborne plays computer games. It’s hard to imagine any members of the current Cabinet having the chant of the Everton crowd as their ring tone, as Andy Burnham once did.

If Mrs Cable read the piece, I expect she would have spat out her corn flakes. Vince Cable is a York City FC zealot and general sports nut who thinks of little else when he’s not being grumpy about the economy. (Is it one more piece of evidence to show he would have been happier in a Lib-Lab Cabinet?) This is how he once described his lifelong affliction:  

Before the election, Liam Fox and William Hague stressed endlessly that the Security and Strategic Defence Review should drive the Treasury budget decisions, and not the other way around.

But in the plans for the Spending Review published today, the Treasury make pretty clear that they expect to see a detailed financial plan from the Ministry of Defence, well before the SSDR will be complete.

Ahead of the summer recess, departments will, working with HM Treasury, submit initial plans for delivering their objectives within reduced budgets. The Treasury will provide guidance to departments so that preparatory and technical work can begin now.

Departments’ submissions will include plans to deliver continuous value for money improvements, as well as proposals to make savings through more fundamental public service reform on the major blocks of spending.

 

George Osborne has just published the remit for the OBR, detailing its relationship with the Treasury and its reporting responsibilities.

The full terms of reference are below. I was particularly struck by the clause on the OBR judging whether the chancellor has “a better than fifty per cent chance” of achieving his own fiscal targets. There are also some rather messy fudges in terms of independence and its accountability to parliament. Its first economic forecast will be published on Monday June 14.

Terms of Reference for the Interim Office for Budget Responsibility

This document is the Terms of Reference for the interim Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). It has been agreed between the Treasury and the interim OBR.

Role in the forecast 

Fitch have calculated a league table of international fiscal pain using historic growth rates and interest rates.

The bad news for Britain is that we’re second only to Ireland, requiring an adjustment of 9.6 per cent of national income to address the deficit in 2009. On this measure, Greece, Portugal and Spain are all in a better position. 

Sterling has fallen on what is a strongly worded, if unsurprising, Fitch report on the fiscal consolidation.

The scale of the United Kingdom’s (UK) (‘AAA’/Stable Outlook) fiscal challenge is formidable and warrants a strong medium term consolidation strategy – including a faster pace of deficit reduction than set out in the April 2010 Budget.