Jeremy Hunt Autumn statement: What is the OBR and why does it matter?

The long-awaited independent forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) will also be published and are expected to detail bleak prospects for an economy teetering on a recession.

The report will come after Jeremy Hunt unveils a £54 billion package of tax hikes and spending cuts with forecasts usually released alongside big government announcements such as Autumn Statement.

The OBR will give a briefing on the economic and fiscal outlook at 2pm today.

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Mr Hunt will say his “difficult decisions” are necessary to keep mortgage rates low and tackle the rocketing energy and food prices intensifying the cost-of-living crisis.

From left, Chair of the OBR, Office For Budget Responsibility, Richard Hughes, member of the Budget Responsibility Committee, Andy King and Professor David Miles CBE, member of the Budget Responsibility Committee at Downing Street
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But Tories on the right of the party are already voicing anger about the prospect of raising taxes, while energy bill support will be scaled back and public services face cuts.

What does OBR stand for?

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OBR stands for Office for Budget Responsibility – it is the UK’s independent watchdog of public finances. They produce forecasts for the economy based on the actions of the UK government and the Bank of England.

The OBR checks the health of the UK's economy and is independent of the government.

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What does the OBR do around a budget?

Typically, the government gives the OBR details of its plans to raise or lower taxes and how it intends to spend public money – with the plans then checked by the OBR and economic models forecast as a result of the data and changes.

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These forecasts cover things like whether the government will spend more money than it raises, and whether the UK's economy will grow or contract–with the OBR's judgement often being crucial for investors' confidence in the UK economy.