Tory Treasury Committee chair flags ‘vast void at centre’ of statement

Conservative former ministers have expressed worries about the tax-cutting agenda laid out in the Chancellor’s financial statement. Conservative chair of the Treasury

Select Committee Mel Stride said the statement had a “vast void at the centre” because of the lack of a forecast by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility

(OBR). Former Treasury minister John Glen said there were “irreconcilable realities” in the plans, as interest rates and inflation were rising at the same time the

Government plans to borrow more cash to fund tax cuts. Mr Stride, who supported losing candidate Rishi Sunak in the Conservative leadership election, welcomed the

Chancellor’s statement but added: “There is a vast void at the centre of the announcements that have been made this morning, and that is the lack of an independent OBR

forecast. “At a time when the markets are getting twitchy about Government bonds, when the currency is under pressure, now is the time for transparency and making it very

clear that whatever tax cuts or otherwise there may be, they are done in a fiscally responsible manner.” He called for the forecast by the independent watchdog to be

released “without any further delay”. Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng reminded him that “in the statement I committed in a very categorical way to the OBR (Office for Budget

Responsibility) coming up with a forecast before the end of the calendar year”.