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History of the Budget

The Budget is the major financial and economic report made each year by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Chancellors use the Budget statement to update Parliament and the nation on the state of the economy, on the public finances and on progress against the Government's economic objectives.

They can review and change tax rates, and can make announcements on how taxpayers' money will be spent in the coming years.

The Chancellor can deliver the Budget at any time of the year - although in recent years, it has taken place in the spring.

Before going to Parliament to deliver the statement, the Chancellor holds up the red box outside No11 to waiting photographers.

The word “budget” derives from the term “bougette” – a wallet in which either documents or money could be kept.

Chancellors are allowed to refresh themselves with alcoholic drinks during their Budget speech - no other Member of Parliament can do this!

Traditionally, the Leader of the Opposition - rather than the Shadow Chancellor - replies to the Budget speech.

This is usually followed by four days of debate on the Budget Resolutions (the basic parts of the Budget that renew taxes), covering different policy areas such as health, education and defence.

Budget facts and figures

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