Jacob Rees-Mogg Thinks It's A Good Time To Trash Talk The Office For Budget Responsibility

Despite market turmoil, business secretary suggests chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng could ignore crucial economic forecasts.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has taken aim at the independent fiscal watchdog that analyses government budgets despite the huge market unrest.

On the day the pound plunged again, the business secretary trashed Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasting and even suggested chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng could ignore them if they were overly negative.

OBR assessments of the UK economy will accompany the chancellor’s plan to pay for his economic measures and reduce debt on October 31.

A lack of such forecasts during last month’s seismic mini-budget are thought to have contributed to the recent chaos in financial markets – with the cost of government borrowing soaring and the Bank of England forced to intervene.

In a pre-recorded interview on ITV’s Peston, the cabinet minister said: “Let’s see what the Office for Budget Responsibility has to say rather than guessing what it may say.

“But its record of forecasting accurately hasn’t been enormously good.

“So, the job of chancellors is to make decisions in the round rather than to assume that there is any individual forecaster who will hit the nail on the head…

“There are other sources of information. The OBR is not the only organisation that is able to give forecasts.”

His comments are unlikely to reassure investors seeking a firm commitment from the Government to get the nation’s finances under control.

Rees-Mogg also lashed out at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after it called for the UK’s economic support package to be more targeted and for fiscal policy to be tightened.

He said: “I think the IMF is wrong on both counts. I think it’s particularly wrong on energy, and frankly doesn’t know what it’s talking about…

“The IMF is not holy writ and the IMF likes having a pop at the UK for its own particular reasons. I’m afraid I would never lose too much sleep about the IMF.”

Earlier, the senior Conservative accused Today programme presenter Mishal Husain of failing to meet the BBC’s impartiality standards after she suggested the mini-budget had unleashed the market turmoil.

Rees-Mogg sought to claim that the Bank of England’s decisions on interest rates had caused the turbulence, rather than Kwarteng’s plans to borrow more to fund tax cuts.

Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Pat McFadden said: “Even now, Tory cabinet ministers do not appear to have learned lessons since their disastrous mini budget.

“The more they publicly trash economic institutions like the OBR, the more they undermine market confidence in their plans and their management of the UK economy.

“The Tories are out of control and working people are being made to pay the price with higher mortgage payments.”

Financial experts have roundly rejected the business secretary’s analysis that interest rates were to blame for the market turmoil.

Gillian Tett, Financial Times US editor-at-large, told Channel 4 News: “To use a non-technical term, that’s pretty much bollocks.”


What's Hot