Business leaders welcomed the inaugural forecasts from the Office of Budget Responsibility yesterday, saying that the independent but official forecaster would help restore trust in public statistics.

Richard Lambert, director-general of employers’ organisation the CBI, said: “This report injects a welcome dose of credibility and transparency into the fiscal and economic growth projections.

“The forecasts for economic growth and the deficit are now in line with our own, and confirm the view that the recovery will be slow and protracted.”

David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce also said the body would “provide much-needed transparency and objectivity to economic policy making”.

But he added: “The new growth expectations are still overly optimistic. The expectation that growth will return fairly rapidly to the levels seen before the recession is too rosy.”