The timing of the Budget and the Spring Statement
33.29For most of its history since the eighteenth century, the Budget has taken place in March or April, and thus either shortly before the start of the financial year or shortly thereafter. This was seen as appropriate and necessary when the main elements of the Budget were the statement of forecast revenue and expenditure outturns for the financial year just ending, expenditure plans for the financial year just beginning and planned tax changes for that year. In autumn 2016, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced plans to move the Budget to the autumn with effect from 2017.1 Under the Industry Act 1975 and successor legislation considered in the next section, there has been a requirement to present two economic and fiscal forecasts to the House in the course of each financial year. This has generally been presented in a distinct fiscal event, known from 1997 to 2010 as the Pre-Budget Report and from 2010 to 2016 as the Autumn Statement.2 From 2018, the economic and fiscal forecasts were included in a Spring Statement, designed to be more limited in scope than its predecessors.3
- 1. From 1993 to 1996, the Budget was also delivered in the late autumn, see Erskine May (22nd edn, 1997), pp 741–42.
- 2. See Erskine May (23rd edn, 2004), pp 859–60; ibid (24th edn, 2011), p 722.
- 3. HC Deb (13 March 2018) 637, cc 717–22.