Box sets » Economic and fiscal outlook - November 2010

The OBR provides independent scrutiny of policy costings and determines any resultant impact on the economic forecast. An estimate of the impact of a policy measure is included in the public finances forecast only when a firm policy has been announced and there is sufficient detail to quantify the effect of the policy. This box summarised the policies that were included in our November 2010 forecast.

Fiscal categories: Public spending, Receipts

Cross-cutting categories: Forecast process

Following the June 2010 Budget, the Government set out further details of the planned reductions in government expenditure in its 2010 Spending Review, including additional measures to reduce welfare spending. This box discussed the possible ways in which these measures could affect the economy's trend growth rate.
Net migration is an important source of growth in the working-age population. It therefore influences the economy’s trend growth rate by affecting potential labour supply growth. In this box in our first full Economic and fiscal outlook in November 2010, we considered how changes in migrant employment and productivity could affect whole economy employment and productivity.
Sectoral net lending
A rebalancing away from private consumption towards investment and net trade was a theme of our November 2010 forecast. This box set out the key features of domestic sector balances over the preceding two decades.

Economy categories: Sector net lending

Cross-cutting categories: Financial sector

Credit conditions
A commonly used metric of credit impairment is the price of interbank lending relative to the interest rate on short term government debt, although this does not indicate anything about the quantity of interbank lending, which fell significantly following the financial crisis. This box discussed qualitative survey evidence to assess changes to cost and availability of credit to household and firms. The Bank of England credit conditions survey suggested a modest loosening of credit conditions for both households and medium-sized firms over 2010, but the availability of credit remained constrained compared to their pre-crisis levels.

Cross-cutting categories: Financial sector

In 2010 Ireland’s sovereign debt markets had effectively closed and interest rates rose to record levels as it sought international financial assistance from the IMF and EU. This box considered the potential implications of this for our forecast, including reductions in trade, risks relating to the UK banking sector's exposure to Ireland, and higher UK interest rates resulting from widespread uncertainty in bond markets.

Economy categories: GDP by expenditure, Net trade

Cross-cutting categories: Financial sector, Financial interventions

Data available at the time of our November 2010 Economic and fiscal outlook suggested that general government employment fell by 550,000 between 1992 and 1998. But some of this fall reflected the reclassification of further education colleges and sixth-form school employees from the public to the private sector in 1993. This box outlined a simple methodology which suggested that general government employment would have fallen by just over 400,000 over that period in the absence of this reclassification.
General government employment
Our general government employment (GGE) forecast is based on projections of the growth of the total government paybill and paybill per head, which is in turn based on the Government's latest spending plans. Ahead of our November 2010 forecast, those plans were updated as part of the 2010 Spending Review. We also made a number of refinements to our forecasting approach. In this box we described revisions to our general government employment forecast and explain the extent to which these changes were the result of methodological changes as opposed to revised spending plans.
Our forecasts for tax receipts do not generally include any explicit assumptions about changes in the level of tax compliance. This box highlighted why our VAT forecast is the one exception.

Fiscal categories: Receipts, Tax avoidance

The Government undertook a number of interventions in the financial sector in response to the financial crisis and subsequent recession of the late 2000s. This box provided an update of the estimated net effect of them on the public finances as of November 2010.

Fiscal categories: Financial transactions

Cross-cutting categories: Financial sector, Financial interventions

Higher education funding
The Government set out proposals in England for a basic threshold of tuition fees of £6,000 per annum as well as an absolute limit of £9,000 in exceptional circumstances for undergraduate courses with effect from the 2012-13 academic year. This box outlined the effect of this student loan policy on the public finances.