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What is in the red briefcase the chancellor holds during the budget?

The original red briefcase introduced by William Gladstone


Ah the iconic red briefcase! Don’t we all want to know what exactly is in there!

During the budget the government reveals how the country's money will be spent over the next year on things like schools, hospitals and other public services. As well as changes in taxation on goods, such as petrol.

On the day of the budget the chancellor appears with a red briefcase, which supposedly has his speech in there – but for all we know it could just hold his sandwiches!

The tradition goes back to 1860 when it was used by William Gladstone, who was the chancellor from 1880-1882. 

Gladstone's briefcase was used up until 1997 when the then chancellor, Gordon Brown, had a new one made because the old one was looking very tatty indeed.

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