Washminster

Washminster
Washminster

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Budget

This afternoon the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, delivered his budget statement. It was delivered to the Chamber of the House of Commons. This is appropriate since Ministers are accountable to Parliament - and major policy statements and decisions should be delivered to Parliament - and an opportunity given for MPs to comment and to ask further questions. The statement though is only an outline. It is accompanied by large documents (though thankfully not as large as the documentation released as part of the US President's budget. They were available for MPs and Peers to pick up once the statement had been made. A set of them are sitting in front of me now, as I write this in Portcullis House (the most modern part of the Parliamentary Estate - linked by a tunnel to the main Palace of Westminster - which includes the 913 year old Westminster Hall). The documents include - in bright red - a Copy of the Budget Report - a 116 page document which includes an Executive Summary and the Report itself and details of the Budget Policy decisions. There is a Budget Forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility. A second document published by the Office for Budget Responsibility is its "Economic and fiscal outlook". Lots of detail for MPs to use in their consideration of the Budget. The Budget debate has already begun on the floor of the House of Commons; a Finance Bill will be introduced and the Treasurt Select Committee will seek to scrutinise the Budget. The documents, and associated press releases (many of which will be published in full in tomorrow's serious newspapers) can be downloaded (for free!) at www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/budget2012.htm (see links of the right of the page)

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