Pre-Budget Report 2003

Published on 10 December 2003

After each Autumn Statement, Budget and Spending Review, we publish analysis of the Chancellor's proposals and reforms.


  • The Chancellor's Pre-Budget Report will be released on Wednesday 10th December. IFS held a briefing on the following day, Thursday 11th December.
  • Presentations covering the public finances, child tax credit and productivity measures were given at the briefing.
  • press release discussing the public finances, child tax credit, childcare and productivity measures was issued as an immediate reaction to the Chancellor's statement. More detail about the public finances is laid out here. Also available is a clarification of the numbers involved in estimating projected numbers of higher rate tax payers.

Green Budget 2003

The IFS Green Budget 2003 examines the Chancellor's options for the Budget. Areas covered include the public finances and spending plans, the case for converging income tax with National Insurance, a discussion of distributional analysis, child poverty, company taxation and how to measure public sector performance.

Public finances

Articles by Robert Chote in the Independent and by Chris Frayne and Sarah Love in Public Finance Magazine ask whether the Chancellor will be able to stick to his fiscal rules. Carl Emmerson and Sarah Love have also put together a short piece for FT.com's wish list for the Pre-Budget Report.

Child poverty

The government has a target for child poverty to fall to 3.1 million by 2004-05, measured by the number of children in households with less than 60% median income after housing costs. The latest data showed that 3.8 million children (30% of children in Britain) were in poverty in 2001-02 on this definition. A new briefing note looks at how much progress has been made towards the target and what increases to means-tested benefits and tax credits need to take effect in April 2004.


At 40 per cent, the overall labour productivity gap between the UK and US has remained the same over the last decade, but it has changed substantially in composition, raising important issues for policy. A collaborative briefing note, put together by IFS researchers and colleagues through an Advanced Institute of Management Research (AIM) scheme, shows that in 2001 the two largest contributors to the gap with the US were services in which the UK is usually thought to do well - the retail/wholesale sector and financial services.

Pensions policy

In a discussion of the government's pensions green paper earlier this year (Briefing note 36; April 2003) we discuss whether or not the government's proposed reforms are likely to help individuals to make choices about how to provide for their retirement that are appropriate to their circumstances. We focus particularly on whether or not the proposals might prompt those individuals who are not thought to be providing sufficiently for their retirement to save more each year or to retire at an older age than might otherwise have been the case.