Budget

Budget 2004

Date: 01 March 2004

Briefing and analysis

  • The Chancellor made his Budget statement on Wednesday 17th March 2004.
  • A press release with immediate analysis of the Chancellor's statement is be available.
  • On Thursday 18th March, the day following the budget, the Institute for Fiscal Studies held a lunchtime briefing. This presentation provided an opportunity to hear a considered view of the Chancellor's announcements from Institute staff. The slides from the presentation can downloaded.
  • An article in Public Finance Magazine, by Carl Emmerson and Christine Frayne, discusses what was in the Budget and asks whether the public services will be getting enough funding.

Green Budget 2004

The IFS Green Budget 2004 Given the doubts about the health of the public finances, is Gordon Brown in danger of breaking his fiscal rules? Are further tax increases required to pay for the Government's spending commitments?

The IFS Green Budget assessed key questions that the Chancellor has to confront in drawing up his 2004 Budget statement.

Public finances

Since October 2002 IFS has produced monthly bulletins analysing the government's public finance figures. Articles by Robert Chote in the Independent include Economic View: Brown treads a tax tightrope (subscription site) and Economic View: All that effort goes to waste. An article by Chris Frayne and Sarah Love in Public Finance Magazine asks whether the Chancellor will be able to stick to his fiscal rules and Carl Emmerson and Sarah Love have also put together a short piece for FT.com's wish list (subscription site) for the Pre-Budget Report.

Conservative spending plans

On 16th February Oliver Letwin, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, outlined the Conservative Party's preliminary public spending proposals in the form of a "Medium Term Expenditure Strategy". We summarise and analyse the key points in a briefing note.

Education funding

A new briefing note, An analysis of the higher education reforms (Briefing Note 45, January 2004) describes the evolution of proposed reforms to Higher Education funding in recent months. This Briefing Note asseses the impact that educational reform may have on students from different family income backgrounds and the level of debt they may need to incur to go to higher education. The way in which graduates may be affected by these debt repayments throughout their working lives is also addressed.

Recent press releases, including Higher education finance bill (27 January 2004) and IFS analysis of higher education funding options (5 December 2003), also comment on education spending and reform.

Fiscal facts

Our briefing notes, A survey of the UK tax system (Briefing Note 9, updated November 2003) and A survey of the UK benefit system (Briefing Note 13, updated November 2003) now include changes implemented after the 2003 Budget. New briefing notes include A survey of public spending in the UK (Briefing Note 43, December 2003), which provides an overview of public spending in the UK describing components of public spending and examining trends in expenditure.

Another briefing note, The government's fiscal rules, describes the government's two fiscal rules and discusses the uncertainty inherent in forecasting the public finances.