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Budgets 1945 - 1979

1947 Budget (Hugh Dalton)

A famous budget because the Chancellor resigned after admitting to having leaked a budget measure to a journalist. Hugh Dalton was replaced by Sir Stafford Cripps.

1951 Budget (Hugh Gaitskell)

Gaitskell was faced with the problem of financing increased arms expenditure (including rising spending on nuclear weapons). In order to help pay for the defence programme he introduced charges for NHS-supplied spectacles and dentures. This led to the resignations of Nye Bevan, Harold Wilson and John Freeman from the government.Gaitskell's only budget.

RA Butler in the first Budget TV broadcast, 1953

1953 Budget (RA Butler)

A budget designed to promote expansion, it cut taxes and liberalised some economic controls.

1955 (April) Budget (RA Butler)

A tax cutting budget in advance of the general election. (The date of the election was already known at the time of the budget). It cut income tax and raised personal allowances.

1955 (July) Mini-Budget (RA Butler)

Post-election deflationary measures introduced by RA Butler.

Mr Macmillan answers a question on his budget

1956 Budget (Harold Macmillan)

Macmillan's only budget. Introduced Premium Bonds in a 'savers' budget. The innovation is condemned by the Shadow Chancellor, Harold Wilson, as a 'squalid raffle'. The subsequent Budget debate marked John Major's first visit to Parliament.

1957 Budget (Peter Thorneycroft)

A tax cutting budget designed to create "room at the top". The entertainment tax was abolished.

1959 Budget (Derick Heathcote-Amory)

A tax cutting budget in advance of the 1959 general election which came some six months later. Income tax, purchase tax and the duty on beer were all reduced.

1961 Budget (Selwyn Lloyd)

Selwyn Lloyd's first budget. Introduced the 'regulator' that allowed for the limited adjustment of some taxes between budgets.

1963 Budget (Reginald Maudling)

Marked a new departure for economic policy. It was the first attempt to go for a 'dash for growth' and break out of the balance of payments constraint that had frustrated previous attempts to raise the rate of economic growth. Taxes substantially reduced.

1964 (November) Budget (James Callaghan)

First budget of the new Labour government. Abolition of prescription charges and increased taxation.

1965 Budget (James Callaghan)

The second budget of the new Labour Government. Brought in Capital Gains Tax and Corporation Tax. The favourable tax treatment of businessmen's entertainment allowances was ended. The Budget was followed by one of the most complex finance bills ever. The opposition to the Finance Bill was led for the Conservatives by Edward Heath who did much to enhance his reputation. The Chancellor was forced into a number of concessions to get the bulk of his legislation through.

TV graphics, 1965
The cancellation of the TSR-2
One of the bitterest battles surrounded the scrapping of the TSR2 project, a strike-reconnaisance aircraft which was regarded as taking up too many resources which, so the Chancellor believed, should be re-deployed into industries like car making. The TSR-2 was replaced by the US F-111 fighter, until it too fell victim to defence cuts.

1966 Budget (James Callaghan)

Brought in a new Betting Tax and the Selective Employment Tax.

1968 Budget (Roy Jenkins)

The first budget since devaluation. It follows a series of spending cuts announced in January (especially in defence) and the re-introduction of NHS prescription charges. Another large increase in indirect taxation. Jenkins declared that the country would have to go through two years of 'hard slog'.

1969 Budget (Roy Jenkins)

Jenkins raised taxation again and announced that the government will proceed with trade union legislation based on the White Paper 'In Place of Strife'.

1970 Budget (Roy Jenkins)

A pre-election budget that made concessions but was not a classically 'give-away' budget. Some critics claim that it was not generous enough, and cost Labour the general election that followed in June, a claim vigourously denied by Roy Jenkins.

1971 Budget (Anthony Barber)

First budget of new Conservative government. Announced the introduction of Value Added Tax (from April 1973).

1972 Budget (Anthony Barber)

Large reductions in taxation announced to deal with rising unemployment.

1974 (March) Budget (Denis Healey)

The first budget of the minority Labour government and Denis Healey's first budget. Healey announced tax increases and heralded a new wealth tax. Healey issues a sombre warning about inflation. Opposition to the finance bill was led by Margaret Thatcher, whose impressive performance was to help her in the subsequent Conservative leadership contest.

1974 (July) Mini-Budget (Denis Healey)

Increases in food subsidies and reductions in VAT.

1974 (November) Mini-Budget (Denis Healey)

Large increases in government aid to industry.

1975 Budget (Denis Healey)

Reductions in public spending and increases in taxation.

1976 (April) Budget (Denis Healey)

Cuts in taxes (thresholds and allowances) were promised only if the trade unions managed to hold down pay claims. (Regarded as the first time a finance measure was made contingent in such a way). The highest rate of VAT is cut from 25% to 12.5%.

1976 (December) Mini-Budget (Denis Healey)

Announces large reductions in public expenditure plans, and the sale by the government of some shares in BP.

Denis Healey, the last Labour Chancellor

1977 Budget (Denis Healey)

Cuts in taxes (in the basic rate) contingent again on the trades unions being able to exercise pay restraint. The later 'mini-budget' led to the Rooker-Wise amendment (named after Labour members of the standing committee on the Finance Bill) which led to the automatic or at least the presumption of indexation of personal allowances in future budgets (this was formalised in the 1980 Finance Act).
A proposed increase in petrol duty was dropped after Liberal pressure in Parliament (despite the recent Lib-Lab pact).

1978 Budget (Denis Healey)

Liberals (despite the Lib-Lab pact) and Conservatives combined in the Commons to cut the basic rate of tax by 1%. Denis Healey also introduced a special lower rate tax band for the low paid (abolished in 1980). The introduction of Employee Share Ownership Plans was as a result of the Lib-Lab pact. The budget also raised tax thresholds and re-introduced free school milk for 7 to 11 year old children.

The first budget speech to be broadcast (sound only).

The Leader of the Opposition, Mrs Thatcher replied for the Conservatives.

1979 (April) Budget (Denis Healey)

A 'Caretaker Budget' introduced after the government had lost a vote of confidence and an election had been called. It merely allowed taxes to continue to be raised until a new government introduced its budget. It was framed with the co-operation of the Conservatives.

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Budgets 1733-1885, 1907-45, 1979-92, 1993-95, 1996

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