Director of the influential Institute of Fiscal Studies, Robert Chote has been forthright in warning about the black hole awaiting public spending.

Recently, he wrote that departmental spending would need to fall by 2.9 per cent a year over 2011-14 just to keep overall public spending level and that it could be 2030 before Britain pulled itself out of debt. A respected economist, he is also a governor of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research and started his career as a financial journalist. He is seen as an influential independent voice on government and NHS spending.