Guardian UK - In 1909 Britain's prime minister, Herbert Asquith, and chancellor, David Lloyd George, presided over an extraordinary budget. It raised taxes on Britain's landed, wealthy elites, so as to provide a raft of social services, from pensions to unemployment benefits. In many ways, it laid the groundwork for the welfare state that emerged after the second world war.
One hundred and one years later, the People's Budget, as it came to be known, still has the power to amaze and to inspire. It was a piece of politics ahead of its time, brave in its identification of the pressing social problems of the age, willing to take on the rich and powerful in order to help society's most vulnerable. It was also one of the very few national budgetary strategies, in Britain or anywhere else for that matter, that acquired both its own name and its own distinct place in the popular consciousness. It is hardly an exaggeration to argue that in one fell swoop it catapulted Britain into an age of governmental modernity. Read more.