The Budget reshapes the financial story of the 2015-20 Parliament. Instead of planning a £60 billion a year increase in cash spending by 2019-20 the Budget lifts this to an extra £69 billion, similar to the increase over the last Parliament. Instead of keeping current public spending under very strict control in the middle years, this Budget increases 2016-17 spending by £15 billion and 2017-18 current spending by £25 billion compared to the March plans. The detail of which departments benefit will be given in the autumn.
So how is this all paid for? Revenues are now more buoyant, and the latest forecasts think this will continue. With no further increases in the main taxes the aim is to raise £168 billion more in tax in 2019-20 than the government collected in 2014-15. That is £11 billion more than forecast in March. The government still eliminates the deficit by 2019-20 on these estimates. The following year, 2020-21 is also shown for the first time. The plan is to have £40 billion of extra spending that year, paid for by a rise in tax receipts of £42 billion.
These augmented figures for spending mean the NHS and schools can receive the extra money they need, and the Defence budget is now offered increases to meet the NATO 2% of GDP commitment. The economic forecasts point to satisfactory growth for the next few years, with inflation and interest rates trending up a little but staying relatively low. Productivity is also shown rising.
The budget measures include more road investment, more apprenticeships, better education and training, a new national living wage, lower corporation tax rates and a new system of taxing dividends.