Tag: taxes

A keenly awaited Budget, but what should we have expected? Chancellor Alistair Darling had warned that it wouldn’t be a ‘giveaway’ budget. The aim to cut the budget deficit in half over 4 years still remains and the UK economy is certainly not out of the woods yet.

You’ve probably seen the debate amongst politicians and economists over what should happen to government spending and it might be that the lower than expected net borrowing for 2009-2010 provides a much needed boost to the economy. With the election approaching, it seemed likely that some of this unexpected windfall would be spent. The following articles consider some key issues ahead of the 2010 Budget.

Budget 2010: Alistair Darling’s election budget BBC News, Stephanie Flanders (21/3/10)
Build-up to the Budget Deloitte, UK March 2010
Pre-Budget Report: What Alistair Darling has announced before Guardian, Katie Allen (9/12/09)
Budget 2010: Darling warns of ‘no giveaway’ BBC News (11/3/10)
FTSE climbs ahead of UK Budget Financial Times, Neil Dennis (24/3/10)
Bank bonus tax could net Treasury £2bn, E&Y says Telegraph, Angela Monaghan (24/3/10)
Alistair Darling set for stamp duty move BBC News (24/3/10)
Labour has run out of steam, says David Cameron Guardian, Haroon Siddique (24/3/10)
Ten things to look out for in the 2010 Budget Scotsman (24/3/10)
Sammy Wilson predicts ‘neutral budget’ BBC News, Ireland (24/3/10)
Do the right thing, Darling Guardian (24/3/10)
What do we want from the Budget? Daily Politics (23/3/10)
Budget boost for Labour as inflation falls to 3% TimesOnline (24/3/10)


  1. Why has the FTSE climbed ahead of the Budget?
  2. Why is there a possibility of a rise in stamp duty again? To what extent do you think it will be effective?
  3. Net borrowing for 2009/10 is expected to be lower than forecast. What should happen to this so-called ‘windfall’?
  4. What is expected from the Budget 2010? Once the Budget has taken place, think about the extent to which expectations were fulfilled.
  5. Why are excise duties on goods such as taxes and alcohol likely to be more effective than those on other goods?

Well no-one can say that Gordon Brown has had an easy ride: the war in Iraq, MPs’ expenses, flooding, strikes, unemployment, and of course a recession. Will the banking crisis and its knock-on effects prove to be the straw that broke the camel’s back? Only time will tell.

The UK economy will be voting within the next few months and the elected party will play a crucial role in our economic recovery. Public debt reached £829.7 billion at the end of October (59.2% of GDP) and with falling tax revenue and rising government spending, it could get considerably higher. “State borrowing grew by £16.1 billion last month (August) – almost twice the entire budget for the 2012 Olympics.”

The outcome of the election will not only play a role in determining how the UK fares over the next few years in terms of our economic recovery, but it will also indicate the likely direction that policy will take towards areas such as education, healthcare, poverty, pensions, etc. The housing market is also likely to be significantly affected and not just by the election. With the end of the stamp duty holiday approaching, demand for housing may begin to fall in the new year, which could spell a fall in house prices.

No matter what happens, it will be interesting to see the direction of government policy over the next few years, given the spending cuts we are likely to experience.

Public debt hits £800 billion – the highest on record Times Online, Patrick Hosking (19/9/09)
Labour polls fuel talk of early election date Mirror News, James Lyons (14/12/09)
Pre-election politics dictate the Bank of England’s economic policy The Independent, Stephen King (14/12/09)
David Cameron and Labour ready for ‘snap election’ BBC News (13/12/09)
So who said what to whom? The truth about the cuts debate Independent, Steve Richards (15/12/09)
Is UK government debt really that high? BBC News, Richard Anderson (22/12/09)

For data on public-sector finances, see:
Public Sector National Statistics Office for National Statistics

For a lighthearted look at the relationship between elections and the economy (in the context of the Philippines), see:
Election and other economic boosters Manilla Bulletin Publishing Corporation, Fred Lobo (14/12/09)


  1. How are economics and politics related? Think about how the up-coming election is likely to affect government policy and why.
  2. What are the main economic policies proposed by the Labour government? How do these aim to help the UK economy recover?
  3. What are the main economic policies proposed by the Conservative government? Will these policies be any more effective than Labour’s?
  4. The Conservative party is ahead in the polls at the moment: why do you think this is? To what extent has Labour’s popularity been affected by the way the government has dealt with the banking crisis?