Chancellor George Osborne has surprised voters, political and business leaders alike by announcing that he will take the unusual step of delivering a second 2015 Budget on 8th July, just one hundred and twelve days after the Budget of 18th March. With an Autumn Statement also due later in the year, the second Budget will mean the Chancellor will deliver three important economic summaries and policy plans in the space of just nine months.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Osborne described this second Budget as a ‘stability Budget’, explaining that his aim was to clarify policies announced in the Conservative’s pre-election manifesto and to announce further measures to keep Britain’s economy on the right track.
Mr Osborne said:
“I don’t want to wait to deliver on the commitments we have made to working people. [The July 8th Budget] will continue with the balanced plan we have to deal with our debts, invest in our health service and reform welfare to make work pay. But there will also be a laser-like focus on making our economy more productive so we raise living standards across our country.”
Individual details on what the July 8th budget is likely to include are currently fairly sparse, but the Chancellor has already announced that specific details will be provided on the £12 billion of welfare cuts already proposed. Business productivity has also been mentioned several times, with Mr Osborne pointing out that the UK still produces a quarter less for every working hour than America and Germany.
More funding for apprenticeship schemes are likely to be announced, with the Chancellor intimating that he would like to see three million more individuals find places. Details on funding for the NHS and a further crackdown on tax avoidance are also expected. The second Budget may come too soon for details on the already-announced ‘second hand’ annuity market, but there is still a possibility that Mr Osborne will release further plans, when he stands again in the House of Commons on 8th July.