What is the Budget and why should you care?

We explain all…

No doubt you’ve been hearing a lot about the Budget in the past few days, as some measures leaked from the speech have already made headlines and perhaps it has come up in conversation too.

You can be forgiven for not really following the ins and outs of one of the government’s oldest traditions. For starters, it’s also called the Financial Statement and is when the Economic and Fiscal Outlook is delivered (it’s almost as if they don’t want us to understand).

Thankfully, the government has produced a handy guide, which we’ve ahem… borrowed to explain the phenomenon known as the Budget.

What is the Budget?

Each year the Chancellor of the Exchequer makes the Budget statement to the House of Commons outlining the state of the economy and the government’s proposals for changes to taxation. The House of Commons debates the Budget and scrutinises the subsequent Finance Bill, which enacts the Chancellor’s proposals.

This year it’s happening on Wednesday 19 March 2014.

How does it affect me?

In the days following the Chancellor’s speech, the media (that’s us!) will intensely analyse the Budget’s impact on different groups across the UK. The government’s annual decisions about collecting taxes and spending money are felt widely and will impact all kinds of people in different ways.

A change in the tax on petrol, for example, will be of particular interest to those who rely heavily on vehicles to get around or run their businesses. Changes to the amount of tax paid on a new home will matter a lot to those people in the market for a property.

Some measures, such as any changes to the rates of duty on alcohol and tobacco, come into effect on Budget day or soon after.

Did I hear the chancellor can have a pint while he delivers the speech?

Indeed you did. By tradition, the chancellor is allowed to drink alcohol while delivering the Budget speech, however recent chancellors have sensibly chosen mineral water.

In the past, a whole range of drinks have been consumed, including whisky (Kenneth Clarke), spritzer (Nigel Lawson), gin and tonic (Geoffrey Howe), brandy and water (Benjamin Disraeli) and sherry and beaten egg (William Ewart Gladstone).

What’s with that tatty red briefcase?

Ah ha, we thought you might ask that so we’ve put together an article examining which Chancellor worked it best (and there might be some facts in there too). By the way, we think it was Selwyn Lloyd.

OK got it. How do I get the best bits?

Follow all the Budget action with us on Twitter using #Budget2014 and in our dedicated Budget feed.

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