The Treasury watchdog will deliver a report on Kwasi Kwarteng’s backfiring budget next week, but the chancellor is refusing to publish it until November.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) was barred from assessing last week’s tax-slashing package – a controversial move which helped trigger the financial and political crisis that followed.
Following an emergency meeting with Liz Truss and the chancellor, the OBR said it will deliver “an initial forecast” next Friday on “economic and fiscal prospects and the impact of the government’s policies”.
But the Treasury made clear immediately that nothing will be published until 23 November, when the chancellor will set out his plans to get a grip on borrowing and debt.
Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat leader, attacked the stance, warning the crisis-hit economy would still be “flying blind” for two months.
“Delaying this forecast means shutting the door long after the horse has bolted,” Sir Ed said. “Families and businesses can’t afford to wait any longer for this government to fix their botched, unfair budget.”
Friday’s gamble spooked the financial markets and created a “material risk” to the UK economy, the Bank of England said – as it was forced to unveil a £65bn rescue package.
Mr Kwarteng fuelled investors’ alarm when he announced he would not set out a full fiscal plan until 23 November, a two-month delay that he is sticking to.
In a statement, the OBR said: “We discussed the economic and fiscal outlook, and the forecast we are preparing for the chancellor’s medium-term fiscal plan.
“We will deliver the first iteration of that forecast to the chancellor on Friday October 7 and will set out the full timetable up to November 23 next week.
“The forecast will, as always, be based on our independent judgment about economic and fiscal prospects, and the impact of the government’s policies.”
A Treasury readout said: “The prime minister and chancellor reaffirmed their commitment to the independent OBR and made clear that they value its scrutiny.”
Three members of the OBR’s budget responsibility committee, Richard Hughes, Andy King and David Miles CBE, attended the highly-unusual meeting in Downing Street.
It was arranged after a series of interviews by Ms Truss failed to dampen the market panic – and increased Tory jitters after she insisted there would be no rethink.
“This is the right plan that we have set out,” the prime minister told BBC Radio Norfolk, saying: “Of course there will always be people who will oppose a particular measure. And it’s not necessarily easy. But we have to do it.”
In an excruciating exchange on BBC Radio Stoke, there were long silences when Ms Truss was asked about the soaring mortgage payments homeowners now face.
The Conservative-led Treasury select committee is still pushing for Mr Kwarteng to bring forward the 23 November statement by at least a month and to publish growth forecasts.