Jeremy Hunt revealed that the Office for Budget Responsibility now forecasts that the UK will not enter a 'technical recession' this year, but who are the OBR?

The Chancellor shared that his new Spring budget will build "on the stability we gained from my Autumn Statement" as he outlined "the next steps to drive economic growth across the UK".

Wednesday's announcement saw the widening of free childcare support, the extension of household energy assistance and investment incentives for businesses.

Here's who the OBR are and what it has said about the economy.

What is the OBR?

According to its website, the OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) is a non-departmental public body funded by the UK Treasury which was created in 2010.

Its purpose is to provide independent and authoritative analysis of the UK’s public finances to the Government.

As discussed previously it conducts fiscal forecasts, whilst also evaluating performance against financial targets.

Additionally, it assesses the long-term sustainability of the public finances through balance sheet analysis and evaluates fiscal risks.

Finally, it scrutinises tax and welfare policy costings.

These five roles focus on public finances at a UK-wide level.

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What has the OBR said about the economy?

In the opening of his hour-long speech in the House of Commons, Jeremy Hunt said that the OBR has said that the UK will not enter a technical recession this year.

It also reportedly said that the Government “will meet the Prime Minister’s priorities to halve inflation, reduce debt and get the economy growing”.

However, living standards are still expected to fall by the largest amount since records began.

That being said, the decline is not as bad as had been forecast in November.

The OBR has said that real household disposable income (RHDI) per person is expected to fall by a cumulative 5.7%over the two financial years 2022-23 and 2023-24.

“While this is 1.4 percentage points less than forecast in November, it would still be the largest two-year fall since records began in 1956-57,” the OBR said.

“The fall in RHDI per person mainly reflects the rise in the price of energy and other tradeable goods of which the UK is a net importer, resulting in inflation being above nominal wage growth.

“This means that real living standards are still 0.4% lower than their pre-pandemic levels in 2027-28. But they are 0.6% higher than we forecast in November thanks to lower market expectations for medium-term gas prices and the upward revision to potential output.”

The OBR is set to host a press conference at 2.30pm on Wednesday following the budget announcement.

The press briefing is hosted by OBR chair Richard Hughes alongside Professor David Miles and fiscal forecaster Andy King.