English Public Finance from the Revolution of 1688: With Chapters on the Bank of England

By Harvey E. Fisk | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIV
The Modern Fiscal System

THE finances of Great Britain are conducted on what is known as the budgetary plan. Briefly stated, this plan involves the preparation by the executive of a "definite plan or proposal for financing the business of a future period both with respect to revenues and expenditures."


The Budget

The policy of the English budget is settled by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the details worked out by the permanent staff of the Treasury. The budget is presented by the Chancellor to the Commons usually in April or May. Sometimes a supplementary budget is presented in the Autumn. Previous to the presentation of the budget a financial statement containing carefully prepared estimates of revenue and expenditure is placed in the hands of each member of Parliament. These estimates are compared with the actual expenditure for the past year, also with the estimates for that year. At the time of presentation the Chancellor explains,--usually in great detail--the reasons for the proposed expenditures and especially for the proposed methods of taxation or borrowing to be followed in obtaining the revenues necessary with which to meet the expenditures. Many of the budget speeches have been notable for their lucidity and interest. Gladstone's budget speeches were among his greatest efforts. Parliament can approve or reject the recommendations of the budget but does not add to its

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