Chancellor George Osborne today (16 March) delivers his fourth Budget to the House of Commons in a year. But with so many Statements in just one year, how different can things really be?
When he delivered the Autumn Statement in November, Mr Osborne was labelled the 'lucky Chancellor' after he found £27 billion to play around with. This time around, however, expect warnings that the "storm clouds are gathering again".
Having already missed his deficit reduction target for this financial year, and a gloomier outlook for the UK and global economies, Mr Osborne has to find some savings from somewhere if he is to achieve a budget surplus by 2019-20. Spending cuts are expected - around £4bn more every year until 2020, in fact. He has previously said that £4bn worth of spending cuts equate to 50p in every £100 the government spends, which is "not a huge amount in the scheme of things".
The Chancellor is expected to say: "Our response to this new challenge is clear. A Budget where we act now so we don't pay later," pledging to "put the next generation first".
At the centre of that pledge will be Mr Osborne's main spending announcement - £1.5bn to overhaul the education system in England. All state schools in England will be transformed into academies by 2020, or have a plan to do so by 2022. They will also be given the power the set their own opening hours. The Chancellor will explain that the move will take control of England's schools away from local authorities and 'back to the teachers'.
We also know that George Osborne will announce £300 million worth of funding for transport infrastructure projects, half of which were outlined in the Autumn Statement. Yesterday (Tuesday) he confirmed that the government would provide funding to start the HS3 rail link between Manchester and Leeds, and the Crossrail 2 project in London. The £161m upgrades to the M62 motorway between Liverpool and Hull will be brought forward, and he is likely to pledge £75m to exploring the possibility of a road tunnel under the Pennines.