What is the Budget?
The Budget, or Financial Statement, is a statement made to the House of Commons by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the nation’s finances and the government’s proposals for changes to taxation. The Budget also includes forecasts for the economy by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
When is the next Budget?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, will deliver the next Budget on Wednesday 16 March 2016.
Why does it take place annually?
Here’s Parliament’s explanation:
“Usually taking place in March every year, the Budget is announced annually because income tax and corporation tax are annual taxes which have to be renewed by legislation each year.
“In election years, after a change of government, a Budget will usually be introduced by the incoming Chancellor of the Exchequer, even if the outgoing Chancellor has already delivered one.”
That’s why Osborne announced two budgets in 2015 – one in March and another one in July.
Where can you watch it?
The Budget will be announced after PMQs on Wednesday. You can watch it live on Parliament.tv
Why the red briefcase?
According to Parliament’s website, 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.
The red Budget Box which chancellors used to carry their speech from 11 Downing Street to the House of Commons was in use for a century.
The wooden box was hand-crafted for William Ewart Gladstone around 1860. It was lined with black satin and covered with scarlet leather.
George Osborne used the Gladstone Box for his first Budget in 2010 but used a new box in 2011.
Can the chancellor drink alcohol during the Budget speech?
Yep, he/she can.
It is a somewhat antiquated tradition, but the chancellor may drink alcohol during the Budget Speech if they wish.
In previous years, George Osborne has stuck to mineral water though.
Here’s what the other chancellors have chosen to drink during their Budget speech:
Alistair Darling – mineral water
Gordon Brown – mineral water
Kenneth Clarke – whisky
Nigel Lawson – spritzer
Geoffrey Howe – gin and tonic
Benjamin Disraeli – brandy and water
William Ewart Gladstone – sherry and beaten egg