Thursday 27 February 2020 1:47 pm

Cancelled Budget forces OBR to run two forecasts in two days

The cancellation of last autumn’s Budget, in place of one next month, means the OBR will now publish two sets of economic forecasts within two days of each other, to avoid falling foul of the law.

The Office for Budget Responsibility is legally required to produce two forecasts annually, tied to a fiscal event. However November’s Budget was scrapped because of the General Election and will take place on March 11, just three weeks before the end of the financial year.#

In a letter to the new chancellor Rishi Sunak, the OBR chairman Roger Chote set out three options including a second “swifter and more limited” update, which could be laid before parliament on March 13.

“Clearly none of these options is entirely satisfactory… but we are where we are,” Chote said, pointing to the above route as his preference.

Sunak replied: “Given the unique circumstances this year, I would like to commission the OBR to publish a second forecast on the 13 March, to provide a limited update to the 11 March forecast.

“As you set out in your letter, this will provide new information on the 11 March Budget
forecast and will avoid the risk you have highlighted of diverting resource from the 11
March forecast and compromising its quality.”