We generally get a pretty good idea of what to expect in advance of the Budget via a series of tip-offs and briefings in the run up to the big day. According to the media coverage, this time round, key things to look out for include:
Action on housing – this is being billed as the focus of the Budget. The Chancellor is expected to set out a plan to build 300,000 new homes per year, with further help for first time buyers also likely.
A shake-up of tuition fees – the Prime Minister already announced a freeze on tuition fees along with increasing the student loan repayment threshold.
Rolling-out Universal Credit – this new system merges various other benefits into one. Expectations are that the six-week waiting period for recipients will be reduced to four weeks.
Lifting the cap on public sector pay – the Chancellor is under pressure to formally end the 1% cap on public sector pay increases, especially for those working in the NHS.
Transport policies – there are rumours of a levy on new diesel car sales and more electric charging points, as well as encouraging the development of driverless cars.
A boost for fast-growing businesses – a report from business leaders (including Neil Woodford, one of RateSetter’s major backers) is expected to recommend action to help UK businesses scale-up and grow.
While all of the above are likely, successive Chancellors have kept one or two surprises to pull out of their hat during the Budget speech itself.