Mindful Money’s top 10 Budgets

20th March 2012

1.      The first annual budgets date back to the 1720s and Sir Robert Walpole who was both Prime Minister and Chancellor at the time. The purpose of the budget was to re-build public confidence, following the financial chaos caused by the bursting of the South Sea Bubble.


2.      Income tax was first rolled out in the 1798 Budget by William Pitt – solely as a temporary measure to pay for the Napoleonic wars.


3.      William Gladstone's budget in 1853 was notable for being the longest, lasting four hours and 45 minutes. He drank sherry and beaten egg as he outlined plans for phasing out income tax over a seven year period and extending taxes to Ireland.


4.      The "People's Budget" as it was called in 1909, was a product of Henry Asquith's Liberal government and included unprecedented taxes on the wealthy and radical social welfare programmes.


5.      Winston Churchill's Budget in 1925 was famous for returning Britain to the gold standard. Churchill thought the move would restore Britain's position at the centre of the world's financial system. History now shows that it made British industry uncompetitive and prolonged the slump.


6.      In 1947, Labour Chancellor Hugh Dalton was forced to resign after he leaked details of the budget to a journalist of The Star. The news was printed before he had even finished his speech!


7.      The budget in 1951 was controversial not only because Hugh Gaitskell put taxes up, but for the first time, he introduced prescription charges to the NHS. The Labour government was subsequently removed from power later that year.


8.       Seen as the most significant budget during Margret Thatcher's tenure, cuts in public expenditure and increases in personal and indirect taxation was the order of the day in Geoffrey Howe's 1981 budget even though Britain was in the depths of recession. 364 economists famously wrote to The Times to condemn the budget.


9.      "Few Budgets can claim to be truly historic. This one was. Not for the policies the chancellor unveiled but for the grim statistics he had to produce." That was the assessment of the BBC's political editor Nick Robinson after Alistair Darling's 2009 budget in which he said Britain faced the biggest public spending squeeze since the war.


10.  Dubbed as an "emergency budget," it was the first budget of the newly formed Conservative-Lib Dem government after the general election in May 2010. The budget was presented as a five year plan to re-build the UK economy after the financial crisis in 2008.


This week Mindful Money will be hosting a live sense-making event covering the budget with a team of macro-economists from the Mindful Money community.

So if you have any burning questions, concerns or suggestions that you would like to put to our experts, then please tell us below.

Their responses will be published on Thursday 22nd. 


To receive our free email newsletter sign up here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *