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The Charter for Budget Responsibility and the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2010

14th October 2015

The Charter for Budget Responsibility and the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2010

Osborne’s ‘Charter for Budget Responsibility’ bears a remarkable resemblance to Gordon Brown’s Fiscal Responsibility Act. Both seek to bind government spending to tight rules in the face of an unknowable future. Both were and are political gimmicks. Osborne’s Charter, like Brown’s Act, is unenforceable; no penalties will be incurred when it is inevitably broken.

When Brown promoted his Act in the dying days of the last Labour government, Osborne sneered that it was “vacuous and irrelevant”. What has changed?

On taking office the Tories solemnly promised to get rid of the government budget deficit by 2015. They failed miserably. Based on their record of failure and deceit, here is the Financial Times’ contemptuous appraisal of their latest stunt:

Financial Times Editorial 10.06.15

Osborne’s Budget Law is Political Gimmickry

“Ironically, the legislation Mr Osborne’s bill most resembles is the Fiscal Responsibility Act passed by former UK prime minister Gordon Brown in 2010. That required the next government to halve the rate of borrowing within four years. As soon as he took office Mr Osborne repealed the law, having previously called it “vacuous and irrelevant”. And rightly so. Had he not done, it would have forced him into further austerity in 2012 and 2013.”

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