Budget Responsibility and National Audit Bill [Lords]
Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East, Labour)
The amendment deals with the period of appointments. The Bill states that appointments should be for five years and in the case of the two members appointed under paragraph 1(1)(c), for no more than five years. We suggest that five years is slightly on the long side and that a period of three years should be considered. The Minister will be aware that the external members of the Monetary Policy Committee are appointed for a period of only three years. Where did the period of five years came from?
We will come later to amendments that talk about the review period. The other place debated whether the review period should be five or three years and we tabled amendments to suggest that it should be three. Obviously the period of appointments would reflect that to an extent. The OBR is in its infancy and its role will naturally evolve over time. The nature of its work and what will be required of a member is a moveable feast at the moment. If people are appointed to the committee now who turn out not to meet the skills set that is required, having them there for five years will not give us much flexibility to change the committee’s composition and appoint people who really can meet its remit.