Spring Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:17 pm on 13th March 2019.

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Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan Chair, Treasury Committee 1:17 pm, 13th March 2019

Building on the question asked by my right hon. and learned Friend Mr Clarke, the OBR has made it clear today that it has not been able to update its forecast to reflect the current Brexit situation, saying that

“we still have no meaningful basis for predicting the post-Brexit trading relationship beyond the near term.”

I sense the Chancellor’s frustration with the House’s inability to approve the withdrawal agreement, but does he agree that this means that many of the forecasts are obviously going to have to be revisited as the Brexit scenario plays itself out over the next few months?

The Chancellor mentioned the forthcoming CSR and education spending. May I urge him also to think very clearly and closely about spending on further education colleges, which is another critical part of improving productivity in our country?

The Budget report recently produced by the Treasury Committee said that the Chancellor was effectively disregarding the fiscal objective to run a balanced budget in the mid-2020s, and the OBR has said today that the target will not be met again. So does he intend, by the next Budget, to ensure that the existing fiscal charter will be updated for this Parliament?