Peter Hoskin

The briefest of stints

The briefest of stints
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Well, that was quick: after only three months in the role, Alan Budd is to step down as the head of the Office for Budget Responsibility.  A shame, too.  In a quiet sort of way, he had become one of the defining figures in these early days of coalition government – helping to establish the OBR as one of the most significant actors on the political landscape.  It is certainly, now, a more effective body than I previously thought it would be.

Although Budd's contract was for three months, there was some idle Westminster speculation that he'd stick around – so the rumour mill is puffing away at his departure today.  Over at the Independent, for instance, Sean O'Grady suggests that Budd has walked because he "doesn't like being pushed about" by George Osborne.  But, according to government sources, Budd is still going to advise them on the permanent structure of the OBR and will help appoint his successor – so, as they go, this departure sounds fairly amicable.  And, what's more, the same sources stress that there was never any question of Budd staying longer than the term of his contract.

In which case, who next?  I don't really have any strong views on the matter, but as Sunder Katwala suggests over at Next Left, there might be something to be gained from making the selection process more transparent.