Skip to main content Text Only version of this page
Where I Live
A-Z Index
 Find Out
 The Team

Contact Us

  Balance the Budget
Updated 09 April 2003, 17.08

Citizenship 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Central government

Students decide where they would increase spending and where they would cutback.

Learning aims

  • The function of the Budget.

  • Changes to government funding affect all our lives.
Quick quiz on the Budget, the correct answer is marked *.

When you spend 50p on a can of drink - how much of the price is tax?

A: 9p*
B: 20p
C: 3p
D: Nothing - Kids don't pay tax

If you spend 50 on a pair of size 3 trainers, how much tax do you pay?

A: 9
B: 20
C: 3
D: Nothing - there's no tax on kids' shoes*

Which of these does the government spend most money on?

A: Fighting wars
B: Educating kids*
C: Making people obey the law

Income tax means

A: The more you earn the less you pay
B: The more you earn the more you pay*
C: The more you spend the more you save

Income tax in the UK was introduced to pay for

A: Hospitals and schools
B: A war with the French*
C: Henry VIII's Palaces

Who reads out The Budget?

A: Ex- chancellor of Quebeca
B: Chancellor of the Exchequer*
C: A bloke off the street

Your aunt wins the lottery, but she dies and leaves you a million quid. Do you have to pay tax on it?

A: Yes - Inheritance tax*
B: No - She gave it to you not the taxman

You pay VAT (Value Added Tax) when you:

A: Buy things*
B: Value things
C: Add things up

Which of these has the least tax on it?

A: Cigarettes
B: Beer
C: Petrol
D: Hats
E: Potatoes*

Online activities
If you have group internet access students can click on the headings below to link to online activities.

A fun vote on who to tax and what to spend

An online quiz on taxation and the Budget

Main activity

[A] Read out the Press Pack report

Students make their own decisions over how central government should spend the money they get from taxing the public.

Ask the class:

  • What could the government spend more on?
  • Where could they get more money from?
  • How does the spending and taxation outlined in the Budget affect kids' ?

[B] Give out copies of the

Explain that the worksheet is split into and expenditure and income.

1. Expenditure
They should decide what percentage of their expenditure should go to each particular area.

For example:

  • 10% to the NHS
  • 25% to Education
  • 20% to Law and Order
  • 5% to Defence
  • 10% to Child Benefit
  • 10% to Basic State Pension
  • 20% to Benefits
They should write down their reasons for giving more to some areas and less to others, making clear why they feel some things deserve more money.

2. Income
Students decide which areas they would raise taxes in to get more money.

They should decide what percentage of their income should come from each particular area.

For example:

  • 20% from the Income Tax of lower earners
  • 25% from the Income Tax of higher earners
  • 5% from Beer
  • 5% from Wine
  • 10% from Spirits
  • 10% from Tobacco
  • 15% from Petrol
  • 5% from Value Added Tax
  • 5% from Car Tax

Write down their reasons for taking more from some areas and less from others, making clear why they feel some things should be taxed more heavily.

3. Use pie-charts
You may wish to give the two blank pie-charts on the worksheet to students to colour and label with their monetary decisions. Each sector represents 5% of the total budget.

Extension activity
Students can try their hand at making important monetary decisions online by following this link to

Who would be the winners and losers if the chancellor took the group's advice?

Could there ever be a Budget that would please everyone?

Teachers' Background

Get the main points of the 2003 Budget using the link at top right.

For all links and resources click at top right.

More InfoBORDER=0
TeachersBudget 2003 worksheet
PicturesIn pictures: the Cabinet
Find OutOur Budget guide
QuizThe Budget quiz
ClubI got the chance to create my own budget!


Past StoriesBORDER=0
The NHS: Central government spending


BBC Links
Budget 2003 at a glance



E-mail this page to a friend

Full Teachers Section
Video report:
IDS deposed
NORTHERN IRELAND curriculum relevance
ENGLAND curriculum relevance
WALES curriculum relevance
SCOTLAND curriculum relevance
Guide to the UK Parliament
>>BBCi Schools: Loads more citizenship
© BBC Back to top^^
Homepage | UK | World | Sport | Music | TV/Film | Animals | Sci/Tech | Weather
Pictures | Find Out | The Team | Games | Chat | Vote | Win | Quiz | Club