The former chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has said he "enormously regrets" the effect of a perceived lack of independence on the body's reputation.
Sir Alan Budd admitted that press coverage of the OBR's early release of a report, which was used by David Cameron in PMQs to argue against figures from a memo leaked in the Guardian that day, was "harmful".
"It is certainly not our job to help the prime minister," he said.
But Sir Alan, who has stood down as chair of the OBR after three months to make way for an officially appointed successor, said the body is "genuinely independent", despite criticism over the location of their offices.
"We were completely independent... we happened to be sitting in the Treasury building," he said.
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