Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - Financial future bleak rather than black, says chancellor - 5 December

The Autumn Statement did not contain much good news for the UK’s finances.

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 5 December

Financial future bleak rather than black, says chancellor

The Autumn Statement did not contain much good news for the UK’s finances.

Despite chancellor George Osborne repeatedly stating previously that he would get the national deficit – produced when the public sector spends more money than is collected in taxes – under control by 2015, Mr Osborne has now admitted it will take longer than he had hoped.

Tax revenues have been disappointing, he said, while government spending has not fallen as fast as predicted – despite major cuts.

The chancellor made it clear in his House of Commons speech that he blames the economic situation in Britain’s main trading partners – the US and Europe – for these potentially disappointing numbers. If these countries are in financial trouble then it affects Britain, he said.

Government revenues increase when the economy is doing well – increased taxes being paid through trading and salaries – and correspondingly they drop when there is a recession.

Unfortunately for the chancellor, he was forced to announce that the independent Office for Budget Responsibility projected that the economy would shrink by 0.1 per cent in 2012.

However Mr Osborne insisted that his economic strategy since coming to power in 2010 was the right one, and vowed that he would not change direction. He pointed to other OBR projections that suggested that the economy was likely to grow in the years ahead, thus reducing the deficit.

“The message from today’s Autumn Statement,” he told a packed House of Commons at lunchtime, “is that Britain is moving in the right direction.”

The annual Autumn Statement also allows whoever is chancellor to set out a number of spending increases and cuts. In today’s, Mr Osborne announced – among many other changes – plans for small increases for pensions and some benefits, and cuts to others. Some taxes would increase, while others would drop, which, he said, would not affect the burden faced by the population overall.

One of Mr Osborne’s most headline grabbing announcements was that he had found £1 billion to be spent on refurbishing schools and building new ones.

For more on the Autumn Statement and what it means for education, pick up a copy of TES this Friday.

Questions for discussion

General Discussion

  • Do you think that young people know enough about the economy? Would you like to be able to find out more?
  • Do you worry about the state of our economy?
  • How much say should the general public have in what our country spends money on?
  • If we were given money to refurbish our school, what would you like to see changed?

Related resources

Budgeting Introduction

  • A great PowerPoint and starter activity to help students understand the basics of budgeting.

Budget and variance analysis

  • A worksheet activity exploring budgeting analysis.

Government spending

  • Data and two worksheets on the theme of government spending.

MP for a Week

  • Help your class to understand the role of an MP with this interactive activity.

Further news resources

First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

In the news this week

After months of feverish speculation, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced that a new royal baby is on the way – one that will become the third in line to the throne.

The UK government’s move to ban the sale of cheap alcohol to try to cut binge drinking and associated health risks is the latest in a long line of attempts to do something about Britain’s love affair with the bottle.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is launching a blueprint for the eradication of Aids across the globe, on the eve of World Aids Day 2013.

The British Press is in need of an independent regulatory body, today’s much anticipated Leveson report has suggested.

In the news archive index