10 unusual facts about the UK Budget speech

From colourful drinks to tatty red briefcases, the UK Budget speech is not without its unusual anecdotes. We’ve picked 10 interesting facts about the Chancellor’s speech, which takes place on 19th March this year. 

The Chancellor's famed red briefcase, a tradition that traces back over one hundred years. Image cc: www.waykiwayki.com

The Chancellor’s famed red briefcase, a tradition that traces back over one hundred years. Image cc: www.waykiwayki.com

  1. The Chancellor is the only member of parliament who’s allowed to drink alcohol during the Budget speech.
  2. Chancellors have a history of choosing colourful alcoholic beverages: Winston Churchill drank brandy, Hugh Dalton downed milk and rum, Selwyn Lloyd chose whisky and water, while Hugh Gaitskell opted for orange juice and rum.
  3. Gordon Brown bucked the trend and chose 100% natural Scottish mineral water instead of alcohol.
  4. The longest ever Budget speech was delivered by William Gladstone in 1853, and lasted four hours and forty five minutes.
  5. Benjamin Disraeli holds the record for the shortest ever Budget speech, at forty five minutes in 1867.
  6. Gordon Brown came close to breaking Disraeli’s record in 2000, hammering out a speech that lasted a touch over 51 minutes.
  7. The Budget speech is historically delivered on a Tuesday.
  8. Seasoned parliamentary reporter Sir Alexander Mackintosh sat through 60 Budget speeches during 1881 and 1941. His famous line: “Speeches get shorter as figures get bigger.”
  9. William Gladstone’s tatty red briefcase was used from 1860 to 1997, when then Chancellor Gordon Brown finally insisted that a new one be made (the old one was virtually falling apart).
  10. The Chancellor’s red briefcase has contained the actual Budget speech since 1860.

1st Contact Accounting will give you a full run-down of Chancellor George Osborne’s new Budget speech on the 19th March 2014.  

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