Over 30 years of UK budget research

by Alex Addyman

At 12.30 today Chancellor George Osbourne will deliver his fifth budget. We’ve rounded up some research and information from our 40 year archive on previous UK budgets.

1979 to 1983 Sir Geoffrey Howe

Scottish Development Department (1983) indicates the full effect for local authorities in Scotland of the reference in the Chancellor Sir Geoffrey Howe’s Budget Statement on 15 March 1983 to (a) the provision of additional capital spending allocations for use in 1983-84 on the improvement of run-down private sector housing and (b) an increase in the ceiling for expenditure on improvement and repairs works which are eligible for grant.

1983 to 1989 Nigel Lawson

Grant (1986) looks at Chancellor Nigel Lawson’s decision to abolish development land tax (D.L.T.) was announced in the March 1985 budget. The abolition of D.L.T. signals the end of a differential tax regime for land. This two-part article examines its operation both as a tax and as an instrument of land policy, and attempts to gauge the impact that its abolition will have.

Mitchison (1988) discusses the effects of Nigel Lawson’s abolishment of forestry tax incentives from the 1988 budget. Mitchison argues that Britain is still lumbered with a forestry policy dating back to the first world war, and while the new Forestry Commission planting grants do not entirely reverse the budget decision both subsidy systems will have very much the same result – more large-scale coniferous forestry. Lawson’s 1988 budget is also contained in our database.

1989 to 1990 John Major

Hansard (1989) discusses the economic policy of the Conservative Government and particularly the transition of John Major from Chancellor to Prime Minister and how this merely continued what the opposition deemed to be continuing confusion and disarray in government economic policy.

1990 to 1993 Norman Lamont

Employment Policy Institute Economic Report (1992) explains how Norman Lamont’s Autumn Statement contained some welcome spending measures but forecasted only a slight recovery in Gross Domestic Productivity. Suggests that unemployment will continue to rise and that the Treasury has failed to provide sufficient resources to tackle it. Concludes that the Chancellor must do more to tackle the institutional and market failures that underlie Britain’s problems with pay, skills and the balance of payments, if he seeks to foster sustainable long-term growth and to bring about lasting reductions in unemployment.

Perry and Baker (1992) analyse the prospects for the housing programme in England following Norman Lamont’s autumn statement. They arge that the short term increase over the next 15 months will be offset by heavy cuts in the basic programmes of the Housing Corporation and local authorities by 1995/1996. Reviews the temporary relaxation of capital receipt rules for local councils and presents likely figures for capital spending in 1992/1993 and 1993/1994. Suggests that housing associations are worst hit in this spending round and outlines some of the possible consequences.

1993 to 1997 Kenneth Clarke

Kaletsky et al (1994) looks at the 1994 Budget and reports how the City is speculating about the prospect of imminent rate rises to peg inflation. Looks at the changes to tax and savings and highlights the winners and losers of the Budget. Sets out the Chancellor’s speech.

KPMG (1995) provides a summary of the tax proposals from the 1995 Budget. Suggest that the tax cuts announced in the 1995 Budget are a relatively prudent stimulant to the economy but have left the door open for a reduction in interest rates which may prove to be the most powerful means by which the Chancellor can achieve his 3% forecast growth for 1996.

1997 to 2007 Gordon Brown

Walker (1998) examines the chancellor’s public spending review and wonders how comprehensive it is possible to be. Suggests that it shows how little room for manoeuvre governments really have except when it comes to staffing and public sector pay. Concludes that more social spending does not mean more money for those spending it.

ENDS (1999) looks at the concessions made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the motoring lobby and heavy industry in his pre-Budget report. They consider the impact of the decision to scrap the fuel duty escalator, the effect of the climate change levy on business, the decision to defer a pesticides tax, and the fate of the proposed tax on aggregates. Discusses the Treasury claims that the overall levy package will deliver larger reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

Paxton (2002) discusses the Saving Gateway initiative announced in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s pre-budget report. Describes the initiative as a scheme to allow low-income adults to accumulate financial assets. Reports that pilot initiatives carried out throughout the country have had a positive response. Discusses the diversity of the Saving Gateway clients who have opened accounts. Considers how they save and how any money accumulated is used. Identifies key issues to be considered in rolling out the programme nationwide.

2007 to 2010 Alistair Darling

Shifrin (2008) considers the implications of the Pre-Budget Report for the public sector. She suggests that the burden of the Chancellor’s plans to restore the public finances after the fiscal boost will fall heaviest on public spending and concludes that a spending squeeze is on the horizon.

2010 onwards George Osborne

The Economist (2010) reflects on Britain’s emergency budget and notes that while the Chancellor may have passed control over economic and fiscal forecasting to the new Office for Budget Responsibility, he remains firmly in charge of fiscal policy. Reports on changes to taxation and explains that the bulk of extra fiscal tightening will come from spending cuts.

Local Government Chronicle (2013) describes responses from local government to the Chancellor’s autumn statement. Reports that local government will not be required to contribute to the government’s £3bn savings target over the next three years, because councils will be expected to freeze council tax. Notes that the Local Government Association (LGA) welcomed the move, along with a Treasury commitment to deliver long-term budgets for local authorities and other public bodies. Reports that the Chancellor plans to work with councils and businesses to pass a share of the benefits of new-build developments to households in their area.


Articles mentioned in this post (please note you must be a member to access these articles)

Anon. ‘Green stimulus’ fails to inspire environmentalists, IN Ends Report, No 407 Dec 2008, p45

Concessions on fuel duty and climate levy spell trouble on CO2, IN ENDS Report, No 298 Nov 1999, pp22-24

Economic Policy, IN Hansard Debates, 31st October 1989, cols. 191-282.

Kaletsky, Anatole et al The Budget, IN Financial Times, 30 Nov 1994, pp1-20 (whole issue)

KPMG (1995) The Budget statement 28 November 1995: a summary of the tax proposals from KPMG Tax Advisors

Mitchison, Amanda, Carry on planting, IN New Society, 8 April 1988 pp 21-22

The agenda: autumn statement, IN Local Government Chronicle, 12 Dec 2013, pp8-11

Paxton, Will Gateway to security (financial exclusion), IN Regeneration and Renewal, 13 Dec 2002, p23

Perry, John & Baker Louise, Spending for housing, IN Inside Housing, Vol 9 No 45 20 Nov 1992, pp10-11 (Inside Housing Briefing)

Scottish Development Department, A. Environmental Improvement Works : Additional Non-HRA Allocations Increases In Eligible Expenditure. B. House Improvement/Repairs Grant : Increase In Approved Expenditure Limits. SDD Circulars : 12/1983.

Shifrin, Tash (2008) Public sector to feel the squeeze from controversial PBR (pre-Budget Report), IN Public Finance, 28 Nov-4 Dec 2008, pp12-13

The meaning of austerity, IN Economist, Vol 395 No 8688 26 Jun 2010, pp35-36

The anaemic recovery, IN Employment Policy Institute Economic Report, Vol 7 No 3 Nov 1992, pp1-6

Walker, David (1998) Gordon’s measured generosity (comprehensive spending review), IN Public Finance, 17-23 Jul 1998, pp12-14

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