Sunday, January 17, 2010

Conservative proposals to reduce the deficit (part 7)

  • Creating an Office for Budget Responsibility. We will create a new Office for Budget Responsibility to assess independently the sustainability of the public finances and hold the Government to account.
It wouldn't be a Conservative manifesto without something stolen from the United States. The US Office of Management and Budget states that its mission is;

to assist the President in overseeing the preparation of the federal budget and to supervise its administration in Executive Branch agencies. In helping to formulate the President's spending plans, OMB evaluates the effectiveness of agency programs, policies, and procedures, assesses competing funding demands among agencies, and sets funding priorities. OMB ensures that agency reports, rules, testimony, and proposed legislation are consistent with the President's Budget and with Administration policies.

In addition, OMB oversees and coordinates the Administration's procurement, financial management, information, and regulatory policies. In each of these areas, OMB's role is to help improve administrative management, to develop better performance measures and coordinating mechanisms, and to reduce any unnecessary burdens on the public.

Of course, we have something like this already, the National Audit Office. It isn't independent, but it is pretty effective.

However, if you want something independent, who decides who serves in it? How do they hold the Government to account (and in any case, isn't that the job of we, the people?) and what sanctions are there for a Government deemed to have failed?

I have been extremely critical of the Government's Fiscal Responsibility Bill, and this is another example of a political party without any confidence in its ability to do what is right, so much so that it has to be told what that is. And if it can't trust itself to do that, what can you trust it to do?...

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