Be careful what you wish for.  When the Government Economic Service agreed to co-host an exploratory meeting with the soon-to-be-disbanded Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) we were delighted.  It had all the hallmarks of a meaningful engagement with a key government service.  The aim of the exercise (or so we thought at the time) was to improve guidance on sustainable development in the government’s ‘green book’: the economic bible for assessing the merits of public sector investment projects.

In the Commission we saw it as the first step in a succession of reviews: first we would have the ‘green book’, then the ‘blue book’ – the guidance on national economic accounts (including GDP) – and finally the ‘pink book’ – the national guidance on investments and assets accounting (including the rapidly rising public debt). (more…)