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Chair of Government fiscal watchdog visits York

Posted on 8 June 2011

British economist Robert Chote, Chair of the Office of Budget Responsibility, will deliver a major public lecture at the University of York.

Just a year after his appointment, the former financial journalist will use this year’s Ken Dixon Lecture on Monday, 13 June to discuss “The Office of Budget Responsibility: can it make a difference?”

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) was created in 2010 to provide independent and authoritative analysis of the UK’s public finances. The independent fiscal watchdog is responsible for assessing the long-term sustainability of the public finances, and scrutinises and challenges the Treasury’s costing of Budget measures.

It also produces forecasts for the economy and public finances and judges progress towards the Government’s fiscal targets. The Government has set itself two medium-term fiscal targets – to balance the cyclically-adjusted current budget five years ahead and to have public sector net debt falling in 2015-16. The OBR provides assessments of the likelihood that the Government’s plans will be achieved.

One of the UK’s most respected economists, Robert Chote  graduated from Queens’ College, Cambridge in 1989, before going on to study at City University, London and at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in the United States. He began his career as a reporter and columnist, working for The Independent and Independent on Sunday, before moving to the Financial Times where he became Economics Editor in 1995.   

He served as an adviser to the senior management of the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC from 1999 and was appointed Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies in 2002, where he established himself as a key figure in analysis of Government spending and taxation policy. He has also served as a member of the Statistics Advisory Committee of the Office for National Statistics. He took up his role as Chair of the Office of Budget Responsibility in October 2010.

The Ken Dixon Lecture is an annual event promoting debate on economic issues of the day hosted by the Department for Economics and Related Studies. The lecture is named after the Chair of University Council from 1990 to 2001 who is a long time supporter of the University.

The University’s Department of Economics and Related Studies is one of the largest economics departments in the UK with over 50 academic faculty members from around the world, offering a great diversity of expertise and international experience.

The Department’s high quality research has an international reputation, ranking 8th in the UK and 70th in the world in the latest Tilburg University Economics Schools Research Rankings. In the last Research Assessment Exercise, 60 per cent of its research was defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ and 100 per cent was considered to be of international quality.

Professor Peter Smith, from the University’s Department of Economics and Related Studies, said: “Robert Chote is a leading expert analyst of Government spending and taxation plans. The OBR keeps the Government’s budget plans to account and Robert Chote is the key figure in this role.”

The lecture will be held at the Ron Cooke Hub, Heslington East campus, on Monday, 13 June at 5.30pm. Admission is by free ticket only, available from For further information email or phone 01904 322622.  

Notes to editors:

Contact details

Caron Lett
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