IFS Dilnot tipped to succeed at Office of National Statistics

20 Jan 00
Andrew Dilnot, director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies and a beady-eyed monitor of public spending plans, is a leading candidate to head the government's revamped statistics service.

21 January 2000

Whitehall sources tip Dilnot to succeed Tim Holt as director of the Office of National Statistics, formerly the Central Statistical Office. Holt resigned last year before the publication of a white paper advocating greater autonomy for the ONS but also tighter external scrutiny of its work.

Dilnot, an economist rather than a statistician by training, would probably follow Holt and become 'head of profession' for members of the Government Statistical Service, spread among departments. If the white paper recommendations are carried through, Dilnot would assume the title of 'National Statistician'.

His candidacy for the sensitive post has raised some eyebrows. As head of the influential IFS, he has not stinted in his criticism of the government's financial plans and is understood to have annoyed Chancellor Gordon Brown.

The remarkable annual 'Green Budget' by the IFS and City firm Goldman Sachs is due out shortly and is likely, once again, to subject Treasury assumptions about tax, revenues and spending to fierce scrutiny. The director of ONS would necessarily work very closely with the Treasury.


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