Wednesday 19th March - It's Budget Day
Every year, usually in March or April the Chancellor of the Exchequer presents the budget, or financial statement, to the House of Commons.
What does it include?
- It is a statement on the nation's finances
- Forecasts for the economy (from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).)
- Government Proposals for changes to legislation/ changes to taxation
How does it work?
- Once presented, the Chairman of Ways and Means puts forward a single motion to the Commons asking for agreement to these changes. This enables any taxation to begin being collected from 6pm on budget day as a provisional arrangement until the budget is fully passed through the House.
- Traditionally the Leader of the Opposition replies to the budget speech.
- Four days of debate usually follows
- If an agreement is reached in the Commons, then budget resolutions come into effect - though to be fully legal the finance bill must be passed
- The Finance Bill starts its passage through Parliament in the same way as any other bill.
- The House of Lords will have a second reading debate on the Finance Bill but they will not consider the Bill clause by clause and will not amend the Bill.
The Autumn Statement
Each Autumn the Chancellor gives a speech on the progress of the previous budget. Usually this takes place in October or November, however, in 2013 this actually was on 5 December.
But why the red box?
The word Budget comes from an old French word ‘bougette’ meaning little bag. It was customary to bring the statement on financial policy to the House of Commons in a leather bag. The modern equivalent of the bag is the red despatch box or Budget box.
All ministers are now given a red box of their own.
For more information and a video to the background to the budget, see the Parliamentary website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/what-is-the-budget