Senior backbench MPs are being lobbied to set up a powerful US-style committee that would scrutinise the public finances as a whole and try to head off major fiscal disasters.
Chairmen of the existing Select Committees are being urged to back the creation of the new parliamentary body that would scrutinise the public finances ‘in real time', the Daily Mail reports.
This ‘Parliamentary Budget Committee' is proposed in a report commissioned by the Chancellor. It would give MPs the ability to spot crises ahead of time rather than investigate them only after things have gone badly wrong as the Public Accounts Committee does.
It would be supported by a ‘Parliamentary Budget officer', a senior independent expert charged with advising committee members and helping MPs get to grips with the huge sums spent by government departments.
Budgets would be examined in detail as would the estimates for individual ministries, and the committee would have the power to raise issues on the floor of the House of Commons.
Proposals would be scrutinised to ensure they added up. Were Labour to form the next government, its planned £1billion raid on high-earners' pensions to fund a new job scheme, unveiled last week, would be a prime example of this.
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