Conflicts over ‘who gets what and why?’ and ‘who pays?’ have been at the heart of political developments for centuries and the trigger for fundamental institutional changes. The American Revolution was fought over the right to determine the level of taxation and over the ability to allocate the collected funds (‘no taxation without representation’). In Europe, modern parliamentary democracy emerged from the continuous struggle between King and Parliament over the power to raise taxes and to determine the size and composition of the budget. Medieval kingdoms developed into potent nation states as they gradually centralised fiscal authority. Budgets provide the arena for conflicts over political priorities and the struggle for the power to govern the country.