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UK lawmakers insist forecasts should accompany mini-budget

UK's Kwarteng says he is focused on growth, not market
UK's Kwarteng says he is focused on growth, not market Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022
By Reuters
Published on Updated
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LONDON - Britain's new finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng should publish economic and fiscal forecasts from the independent budget watchdog if he announces tax changes in his upcoming fiscal update to parliament, a committee of lawmakers said.

Kwarteng is due to outline plans to help households and businesses through the coming months under the economic agenda of newly-installed Prime Minister Liz Truss.

Investors are keen to hear details about the vast cost of the plans, with estimates ranging between 100 billion and 200 billion pounds ($115-230 billion).

However, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) will not be publishing detailed forecasts next Friday, government sources said last week.

"These forecasts are a vital indicator of the health of the nation's finances, and provide reassurance and confidence to international markets and investors," said Mel Stride, chair of the Treasury Committee which scrutinises the government's economic plans.

Stride - a leading supporter of former finance minister Rishi Sunak in the Conservative Party contest to succeed Boris Johnson - said the economic outlook had soured since the OBR last published forecasts in March.

"There have been significant fiscal interventions since then and we are told there will be further significant interventions including major permanent tax cuts to be announced on Friday," Stride said.

"Under these circumstances, it is vital that an independent OBR forecast is provided."

During the leadership contest, Sunak said Truss's unfunded tax cuts would be inflationary, while Truss said Sunak's increased payroll taxes and plan to raise corporation tax would make a recession more likely.

Last month the OBR said it could provide a partial forecast to go alongside a late September fiscal statement, in addition to the full forecast that will be published with an annual budget due before the end of the year.

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