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21 June 2011

Chancellor appoints Kate Barker and Lord Burns as non-executive members of the Office for Budget Responsibility

The Chancellor has appointed Kate Barker and Lord Burns as non-executive members of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

Kate Barker and Lord Burns will join the Chair of the OBR, Robert Chote, and the other two Budget Responsibility Committee members, Stephen Nickell and Graham Parker, in overseeing the governance of the OBR.

The Chancellor said:

“I am very pleased to have two such experienced individuals as Kate Barker and Lord Burns to be the first non-executive directors of the OBR. They will have key roles to play in supporting the leadership and independence of the OBR, strengthening its governance and ensuring that it delivers its important objective of examining and reporting on the sustainability of the public finances.”

Robert Chote said:

“I am delighted that Kate Barker and Lord Burns have agreed to serve as our first non-executive members. I have no doubt that they will hold us to the highest standards of conduct and performance.”

Notes for editors

1. Kate Barker CBE is presently a Senior Adviser to Credit Suisse, and a non-executive director of Electra Private Equity plc, Taylor Wimpey plc and the Yorkshire Building Society. Previously, Kate Barker was a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England from 2001 until May 2010. During this period, she also led two major policy reviews for Government, on housing supply and on land use planning. Before joining the MPC she was Chief Economic Adviser at the CBI.

2. Lord (Terry) Burns GCB is non-executive chairman of Santander UK plc and Channel Four Television Corporation. He is a former Chief Economic Advisor and Permanent Secretary to HM Treasury, Chairman of Marks & Spencer plc and Welsh Water, and an Independent adviser to the Secretary of State on the BBC Charter Review. Lord Burns is also Chairman of the Governing Body of the Royal Academy of Music.

3. The two non-executive member positions were advertised in March 2011 and a number of applications were received. A panel comprising Sam Beckett (Director of the Fiscal Group in the Treasury), Robert Chote (Chair of the OBR) and an independent assessor interviewed candidates and provided advice to the Chancellor on the appointments.

4. Outline terms and conditions were set out in the Candidate Pack for these appointments. The roles will entail an average time commitment of around one day a month and will not be remunerated.

5. The non-executive members of the OBR will play an important role in safeguarding the independence of the OBR and will also ensure that the Chair of the OBR, Robert Chote, and the two other member of the Budget Responsibility Committee (BRC), are supported and constructively challenged. The BRC has executive responsibility for producing the OBR’s forecasts and fiscal sustainability reports, and responsibility for these functions cannot be delegated, including to the non-executive members.

About the OBR

6. The independent OBR has been established with a main duty to examine and report on the sustainability of the public finances. The Government established the OBR on a non-statutory, interim basis on 17 May 2010. The Budget Responsibility and National Audit Act, establishing the OBR on a statutory basis, received Royal Assent on 22 March 2011.

7. The OBR is a central part of the UK’s fiscal framework, with a responsibility to produce economic and fiscal forecasts, which the Government intends to adopt as the official forecasts for the annual Budget. The OBR also undertakes broader research and analysis into a range of issues relating to fiscal sustainability.

8. The OBR will publish its first Fiscal sustainability report on 13 July 2011, presenting long-term projections for public spending and tax revenue, describing the public sector balance sheet, and setting out summary indicators of the long term sustainability of the public finances.

9. For more details please see the OBR website (opens in new browser window) and the HM Treasury OBR webpage.

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