Quick Guide: The Budget
Printable version
The Treasury's role

The Pre-Budget Report

The Budget statement

Budget deficits and the golden rule

The Spending Review

Budget deficits and the golden rule

Gordon Brown introduced the "golden rule" to try to assure money markets that governments would not spend more than they could afford.

The rule requires that current spending does not exceed tax revenue over the course of a complete economic cycle.

This allows the government to borrow in bad times and pay it off in good times.

But the rule does not apply to capital investments, such as hospitals and schools. Critics fear some spending can be reclassified to circumvent the rules.