Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter

What is the deal with the red budget briefcase?

Jessie Brown

The red briefcase is pictured throughout the media today, but why?

Red box

Confused ... What is this red box and why is everyone so obsessed with it? 

YOU will most definitely see a photograph of a man holding a very scruffy looking red briefcase outside of number 11 Downing Street today, right near the prime minister’s house. This red briefcase is known as the 'budget box' or 'red box' and is a ministerial box. It is used to deliver the new UK budget which tells us Brits where the government is going to spend our money. 

The briefcase has been used for more than 150 years, although it did have a casting change back in 2010 when the original box was starting to decay. The red budget box was first used by William Gladstone in 1860. Since then it has been used by every chancellor apart from James Callaghan and Gordon Brown. In fact all ministers have a ministerial box, the 'red box' is just the most well-known. Today you will see George Osborne hold up the newer red box followed by a torrent of media coverage about its contents. So there you go, us Brits just cannot let go of our traditions…even if it does seem strange to announce new government spending details holding a large novelty red box.

Back to more Coffee Break


Comments