London Report: Chancellor and Chote set to face MPs’ questions

CHANCELLOR George Osborne will be back in the spotlight on Thursday as he is quizzed by the Treasury Select Committee about the contents of his Autumn Statement.

But Osborne is the not the only one to face a grilling from the committee this week, as Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) head Robert Chote is likely to be answering some tough questions today.

The OBR, the government’s independent fiscal watchdog created in 2010, has consistently been too optimistic in its forecasts and some economists still think it is too upbeat.

Colin Edwards from the Centre for Economics and Business Research said: “The OBR’s longer term outlook still appears somewhat optimistic, however, with growth relying on fairly ambitious levels of business investment expansion and nominal earnings growth running at close to four per cent to support strong gains in household consumption. The effect of this improved outlook is to dramatically transform the government’s financial position.”

Other economic highlights this week include UK production and trade data tomorrow and official construction output figures on Friday.

Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, will deliver a speech in New York today, while Rics house price data and Niesr UK growth estimates will be released tomorrow.

Third quarter vehicle registration figures will be released on Thursday.

In the corporate calendar, today’s full-year results come from Alternative Networks, RWS Holdings and Treatt while Anite will give interim figures.

Tomorrow TUI Travel and Victrex are due to give full-year results while S&U and Whitbread will update the market and Ashtead Group, Carpetright, Eco Animal Health Group, Iomart Group and Photo-Me International will give interim reports.

On Wednesday Imagination Technologies, Stagecoach Group, Carillion and PZ Cussons will all report.

Thursday’s full-year reports will come from Domino Printing Sciences and Titon Holdings while Go-Ahead Group, John Wood Group, Moss Bros, Sports Direct International and Supergroup will update the market.

Finally on Friday Bellway will give a trading update, which is expected to be strong because of a lift from the government’s Help To Buy scheme.