By deciding to change the accounting treatment of student loans in public spending totals, the Office for National Statistics has given Philip Hammond a fiscal headache. Martin Wheatley says it is time for government to stop using misleading accounting to flatter the numbers.
A disturbing pattern of poorly-briefed Home Office ministers is emerging. Benoit Guerin says that to reverse this trend, the forthcoming review of the department’s processes needs to focus on improving advice.
Philip Hammond’s Budget must more clearly articulate his ambitions for reducing public borrowing. This would lay the groundwork for a more serious public conversation about the scope for public spending and the need for tax rises, argues Gemma Tetlow.