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Coalition guilty of 'astonishing omission' in audit, says Labour | Politics | guardian.co.uk

The coalition has declared that it is on course to meet its central economic pledge after omitting a "supplementary" element of the government's fiscal mandate from an audit of its achievements.

Labour said the government was guilty of an "astonishing" omission after failing to mention George Osborne's pledge in his emergency budget of 2010 to ensure that debt is falling as a share of GDP by 2015-16.

In the lengthy audit - dubbed full, frank and "completely unvarnished" by David Cameron - ministers said the Office for Budget Responsibility had judged last month that the government was "on course to meet our fiscal mandate".

The OBR said at the time of last month's autumn statement that the government was "more likely than not to meet the mandate" - the elimination of the structural budget deficit.

But in his autumn statement on 5 December the chancellor admitted that the OBR had also said in its assessment that he would fail to meet the "supplementary" element of the fiscal mandate - that debt should be falling as a proportion of GDP by 2015-16. This did not technically count as failing to meet the fiscal mandate because the debt target was defined as a "supplementary" element.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:14:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nowadays, after everybody who is interested in UK politics has seen the episode of the Thick of It where Malcolm Tucker conspires to get his minister caught in exactly the same way, I'm pretty suspicious of these gotchas. I just don't believe that they're that thick

cui bono ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:00:50 AM EST
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Predictions for 2013: my answers to the FT Survey | Porthes
Q3. Fiscal policy To what extent will George Osborne be able to keep "Plan A" in operation for another year? Should he?

What is Plan A?  Eliminating the structural budget deficit by the end of the Parliament? That was abandoned in 2011.  Reducing the debt-GDP ratio in 2015-16?  That went in the Autumn Statement.  Setting DEL spending targets but allowing the "automatic stabilisers" which the Chancellor once described as a "key part of the flexibility built in to our plan" to function?  The Autumn Statement dropped them too. So there is no "Plan A" anymore; the UK no longer has a credible medium-term fiscal framework, and it would be sensible for the government to consult on a more credible replacement.

(my bold)

Still, beautiful plumage, eh?

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:24:07 AM EST
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