Richard Hughes named new OBR chair

Richard Hughes, an economist who has worked for the Treasury, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and an independent think tank, is set to take over from Robert Chote as the new chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR)

Chote’s statutory term comes to an end later this year. He was the first permanent chair of the OBR and has served two terms since his initial appointment in 2010.

Hughes is currently a research associate at the Resolution Foundation and advisor to the IMF, and brings twenty years’ experience to the role, having worked on economic and fiscal issues both outside and inside of government.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: ‘At an unprecedented time when the state has had to take unprecedented action, it is essential that our institutions work as they should to ensure that we retain our complete commitment to strong public finances and responsible management of tax-payers’ money.

That makes the independence and role of the OBR all the more important.

‘So I am delighted to nominate Richard Hughes to be the next Chair of the OBR. We’re doing so months ahead of the handover to give the institution the certainty it needs to continue to play its vital role in supporting the credibility of the UK’s fiscal framework.

‘I would like to thank Robert Chote for the excellent work he and his team have done over the past ten years.’

The OBR has executive responsibility for producing the official UK economic and fiscal forecasts, assessing the government’s performance against its fiscal rules and reporting on the sustainability of and risks to the public finances.

The Treasury select committee approves all appointments to the Budget Responsibility Committee, including the chairman, and Hughes will attend a pre-appointment hearing in due course.

Hughes said: ‘Hughes said: ‘It is both a great privilege and a tremendous responsibility to be proposed for this position during one of the most challenging times for the UK economy and public finances in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

I would like to thank the current Chair Robert Chote, Charlie Bean, Andy King and the staff of the OBR for all the work they have done over the last decade to establish it as one of the preeminent independent fiscal agencies in the world.

‘Like them, I am committed to upholding the OBR’s well-deserved reputation for objective, transparent, and rigorous analysis of economic and fiscal developments.’

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