Office for Budget Responsibility - Treasury Contents

Annex: Fiscal Councils overseas

Source: Professor Simon Wren-Lewis [109]


The Public Debt Committee established in 2002, receives financial support from the Austrian Central bank. It provides recommendations on the direction of fiscal policy, and the overall fiscal stance.


The Federal Planning Bureau, established in 1994, provides a range of services along similar lines to the CPB in the Netherlands. In addition, the High Council of Finance, which was reformed in 1989, oversees the coordination of regional and national fiscal policy. It sets medium term objectives for regional and national budget deficits, and proposes annual targets, which form the basis for government negotiations. The High Council is chaired by the Minister of Finance, but has representatives from inside and outside government. Although it has no formal decision making power, it does exert considerable influence.


The Parliamentary Budget Office provides independent analysis to Parliament on the state of the nation's finances, the government's estimates and trends in the Canadian economy, and upon request estimates of the financial cost of any specific proposals.


The Economic Council, established in 1962, prepares economic reports and forecasts on a range of issues including fiscal policy.


The Fiscal Council of the Republic of Hungary was set up in 2009 as 'an independent state institution that endeavors to ensure the responsible management of public resources.' It prepares macroeconomic forecasts which represent the baseline for budgetary decisions. It also provides comment and advice on fiscal planning more generally, within the context of existing fiscal rules.


The Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) was founded in 1945. It is an independent research institute and has its own independent external advisory body. It provides economic and fiscal forecasts as inputs into the budgetary planning process. It also evaluates (at the parties' request) the election programme of government and opposition parties. The Bureau also provides economic expertise over a wide range of specific issues, such as labour market reform.


The Public Finance Act of 2009 requires the creation of an independent advisory body to provide assessments of the public finances.


The Swedish Fiscal Council was established in 2007. It consists of eight members and is assisted by a secretariat with four employees. The mission of the Council is to provide an independent evaluation of the Swedish Government´s fiscal policy.

United States

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has a mandate to provide the United States Congress with 'objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on the wide array of programs covered by the federal budget and information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process.' Established in 1974, it provides objective and impartial assessments ('scoring') of policy proposals that have a significant influence on decision making. It also provides an overall assessment of the likely path of deficits and debt into the medium term. However, the requirement of impartiality that is crucial for its influence at the microeconomic level restricts its scope to offer clear advice on the macroeconomic stance of fiscal policy.

109 Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2010
Prepared 21 September 2010