Monday, 24 November 2008

The Pre Budget Report

Once a year the Chancellor of the Exchequer presents his budget. This is normally done in March. In the United Kingdom the tax year runs from 6th April to the 5th April the following year. The Budget speech is delivered in the chamber of the House of Commons - and usually follows the structure of

1 a review of how the UK economy is performing
2 forecasts of how the UK economy will perform in the future
3 details of any changes to taxation.

During the latter part of the twentieth century, as governments struggled to control the economy, many years saw an additional "mini-budget". In 1997 the Labour Government began the practice of having an annual "pre-Budget Report". This allows the Chancellor to update the Commons on the performance and forecasts for the economy, as well as giving an opportunity to make mid year changes to taxation and to signal future changes.

Today Alistair Darling will give his Pre-Budget Report - which most commentators believe will be the most significant in a long time. Various tax changes are rumoured as a response to the current crisis. The speech can be viewed live at http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Live.aspx. BBC News 24 will be providing a live feed plus commentary afterwards at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7459669.stm. The speech is due to begin soon after 3.30pm GMT.