The Chancellor Rishi Sunak presented the 2020 Budget on 11 March. The Finance Bill 2019-21 was published on 17 March.


Each year the Chancellor of the Exchequer presents the Budget, which contains all the tax measures for the year ahead. Traditionally the Budget has been in March, prior to the start of the tax year on 6 April.  The statutory provisions to give effect to these tax measures are set out in a single Bill: the annual Finance Bill.  

It has been the practice in recent years for Chancellors to make tax announcements twice a year, using the Pre-Budget Report or Autumn Statement as a second fiscal event. In his Autumn Statement on 23 November 2016 the then Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that from autumn 2017 the Government would present a single autumn Budget, to allow for greater Parliamentary scrutiny of Budget measures ahead of their implementation. Initially the Government had planned that the 2019 Budget would be presented on 6 November 2019, but this was deferred, due to the timing of the General Election held the following month, to 11 March 2020.[1]

For details see, The Budget and the annual Finance Bill, Commons Library briefing CBP813, 13 March 2020.

Budget 2020

On 11 March the Chancellor Rishi Sunak presented the Johnson Government’s first Budget.[2]

The Budget report – HC 121 – and associated documents are collated on  Three key sources are:

Commons Briefing Papers are available on the context for the 2020 Budget (CBP 8842, 5 March 2020), and a summary of the measures announced (CBP 8849, 11 March 2020). The Institute for Fiscal Studies published its post-Budget briefing on 12 March; this included some analysis of the permanent tax changes announced in the Budget. The Treasury Committee held three evidence sessions on the Budget over 17-20 March; details are on its site.

Finance Bill 2019-21

The Finance Bill 2019-21 was presented on 17 March 2020. The Treasury has also published the explanatory notes to the Bill, and collates other relevant material on this page. Provisionally the Bill’s Second Reading is set for 22 April. Following Second Reading, selected clauses from the Bill will be debated by the Committee of the Whole House over two days at the start of the Bill’s Committee stage. Provisionally these debates are set for 27 & 28 April.

As is common practice, the Government had published draft provisions to be included in the Finance Bill last summer.  Some of these followed earlier consultation exercises, others provided for certain technical changes, while a third group were to have immediate or retrospective effect.[3] Following confirmation of the date of the Budget, the Financial Secretary, Jesse Norman, gave a written statement on 25 February. He announced that the Finance Bill would be published a few days after the Budget, and added that the Government remained “committed to legislating those measures published in July 2019, subject to confirmation at Budget 2020.”[4]

Library briefing material on the Finance Bill

It is long-standing practice for there not to be a single impact assessment on the Bill; as noted, HMRC publish tax information & impact notes on individual Budget measures.[5] Similarly, given the scale and scope of the annual Finance Bill, the Library does not publish a single paper on the Bill, but aims to publish briefing material relating to the clauses selected for debate by the Committee of the Whole House. These will be published on this page in due course.

Notes : 

[1]    HMT, Chancellor Letter to the Treasury Select Committee on the Budget, 25 October 2019; HMT press notice, Chancellor launches Budget process to usher in ‘decade of renewal’, 7 January 2020

[2]    HC Deb 11 March 2020 cc278-293

[3]    Written Statement HCWS1713, 11 July 2019; HM Treasury press notice, Finance Bill 2019-20: government publishes draft legislation, 11 July 2019. This draft legislation is on

[4]    Finance Bill 2020: Written Statement – HCWS122, 25 February 2020

[5]    see PQ6549, 6 September 2017

  • Commons Debate Pack CDP-2020-0070
  • Author: Antony Seely
  • Topics: Tax