Labour to force Commons vote on independent manifesto audits

Labour will this week challenge the Conservatives and Lib Dems to back a plan that would see party manifestos at the next election independently audited.

Ed Balls MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, wants the Office for Budget Responsibility – the Government’s independent budget watchdog – to scrutinise the spending and tax commitments made by the main parties at the next election.

In an Opposition Day debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday, he will call on the Chancellor George Osborne to back the plan and force a vote in Parliament.

Ed Balls said:

“In tough times it’s even more important that the policies of all the parties are properly costed and funded. People rightly want to know that the sums add up.

“That’s why I want every spending and tax measure in Labour’s manifesto to be independently audited by the Office for Budget Responsibility. And I believe the Tories and Lib Dems should be willing to subject their manifestos to independent scrutiny too.

“But to give the OBR the legal power to do this before the next election we need cross-party support for my proposal.

“This policy has already won the support of some Conservative and Lib Dem MPs. George Osborne used to say he was interested in this idea. But now that the election is approaching he seems to be resisting it.

“Robert Chote has said cross-party agreement would be needed by the early summer to do this for next year’s manifestos. This week’s debate is George Osborne’s last chance to stop blocking this important reform. I hope he will change his mind and do the right thing.”

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Posted June 21st, 2014 by Ed's team