Re-appointment of Professor Stephen Nickell to the Budget Responsibility Committee - Treasury Contents

2  The re-appointment to the Budget Responsibility Committee of Professor Stephen Nickell

Background on Professor Stephen Nickell

4.  Professor Nickell has been a member of the Budget Responsibility Committee (BRC) since 2010. For part of that period, Professor Nickell was also Warden of Nuffield College, Oxford, where he was in post from 2006 until 2012. Prior to that he was School Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics from 1998 to 2005. He was also an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England from 2000 to 2006. He was President of the Royal Economics Society from 2001 to 2004, and has been a Vice-President since 2004. He has published widely on a variety of topics in economics. In 2007 he was awarded a CBE for his services to economics. While on the BRC, he will also be the Chair of the Houblon-Norman/George Fund Advisory Committee, which recommends appointments to various Bank of England Fellowships, Chair of the Advisory Board of the ESRC Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, and an Advisor to the LSE Promotions Committee on promotions in the LSE economics department. He will also lecture to Masters students at Oxford University.

Our evidence

5.  In oral evidence, we questioned Professor Nickell on his suitability to be reappointed as a member of the Budget Responsibility Committee. We particularly focussed on the current macroeconomic environment, and his previous work at the OBR. Particular topics we questioned Professor Nickell on included:

  • The principle and practicalities of OBR involvement in costing political parties' policies before an election;
  • Evaluation of his own performance on the BRC;
  • The OBR's role in aiding public understanding of the limitations forecasting;
  • The OBR's forecasting record;
  • The prospects for the recovery;
  • The risks for the UK economy from a potential US default;
  • Sterling and net trade;
  • The forecast for net borrowing by households;
  • Evaluating previous costings;
  • Forward guidance in monetary policy; and
  • The Help to Buy scheme and the housing market.


6.  Having considered his oral and written evidence, and taking into account his previous appearances before the Treasury Committee, we are satisfied that Professor Stephen Nickell has the professional competence and personal independence to be reappointed as a member of the Budget Responsibility Committee. We therefore consent to his appointment. We wish him every success in his continuing role.

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© Parliamentary copyright 2013
Prepared 14 October 2013