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Budget 2021

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has announced that the government will publish the Budget on Wednesday 3 March 2021. Before, on and after that date, we will be producing rigorous, independent analysis of the choices facing the Chancellor. 

Upcoming event

Spring Budget 2021: IFS analysis

04 March 2021 | 10:00 - 11:30

The Spring 2021 Budget will be the first one since the UK entered a series of lockdowns and Great Britain left the EU's Single Market and Customs Union. The Chancellor has immediate decisions to make over many aspects of the emergency support packages that will otherwise expire soon. In addition there is a clear need for policies to help the economy to recover and to adjust to a post-Covid, post-Brexit world in which we are moving towards Net Zero.

IFS researchers will present their initial analysis of the Chancellor's announcements on the public finances, spending on public services, and the tax and the benefit system on the following day, Thursday 4 March, at an online briefing.

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The three things Rishi Sunak needs to address in his March Budget

Podcast: Budget 2021: The road to recovery?

In this episode, Paul Johnson speaks with IFS Deputy Directors, Carl Emmerson and Helen Miller to explore the kinds of things the Chancellor should be thinking about.

Previous event

Click here to read the disclosures from Citi.

Slides from the event

Acute crisis to tricky recovery: The key questions by Ben Nabarro (Citi)

Through a glass, darkly: Uncertain outlook for the public finances by Isabel Stockton

The future of pandemic support for households by Jonathan Cribb

From support to recovery measures by Helen Miller


Press release

Look to the Budget to secure the recovery, not to fix the public finances

We have had 13 major fiscal announcements since the last Budget on March 11th last year. Those announcements have involved more than £250 billion of additional spending, largely focussed on supporting public services, jobs, businesses and incomes through the pandemic.

We can expect Rishi Sunak’s second Budget on March 3rd to do more of the same. But it should also focus on supporting the recovery as restrictions are eased.

In an online event, researchers from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, joined by an analyst from Citi Research, will set out some of the challenges and options confronting the Chancellor as he prepares for what is only his second Budget.

Researchers will say that:

  • The Budget needs to announce well-targeted extensions in emergency support to households and employers over coming months. It also needs to set out a plan for phasing them out. The economy cannot adjust and recover until most of this support has been removed.
  • The Chancellor also needs to set out plans for how to help the economy recover and adjust to a new normal. The economy needs to adjust to the triple challenges of Brexit, recovery from Covid, and the move towards Net Zero.
  • The public finances are not on a sustainable footing. Sizeable net tax rises – to help meet likely demands for additional public spending and make-up for any enduring weakness in revenues, while keeping inflation low – will be needed at some point. But substantial tax rises should not be part of the coming Budget. Mr Sunak should only commit to permanent spending rises (or for that matter tax cuts) if he is sure of an appetite for larger subsequent tax rises.

Read more here >>>


What happens in a Budget?

Typically, the government holds a Budget every year. What must governments set out? What kinds of policies do they announce? How important are Budgets?

How does the government borrow money?

How does the government borrow large sums of money? Where does it come from and what are the risks? IFS researcher Isabel Stockton explains.

Where does the government get money from?

Who is paying taxes? And what has happened to taxes over time? Helen Miller, Associate Director, explains.