Her Majesty's Treasury (HM Treasury), sometimes referred to as the Exchequer, or more informally the Treasury, is the department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for developing and executing the government's public finance policy and economic policy. The Treasury maintains the Online System for Central Accounting and Reporting (OSCAR), the replacement for the Combined Online Information System (COINS), which itemises departmental spending under thousands of category headings, and from which the Whole of Government Accounts (WGA) annual financial statements are produced.
Government Offices, Great George Street
|Headquarters||1 Horse Guards Road|
|Employees||1169 FTE (+113 in DMO)|
|Annual budget||£3.8 billion (current) & £300 million (capital) for Chancellor's Departments in 2011–12|
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The possessive adjective in the department's name varies depending upon the sex of the reigning monarch.
The beginnings of the Treasury of England have been traced by some to an individual known as Henry the Treasurer, a servant to King William the Conqueror. This claim is based on an entry in the Domesday Book showing the individual Henry "the treasurer" as a landowner in Winchester, where the royal treasure was stored.
The Treasury of the United Kingdom thus traces its origins to the Treasury of the Kingdom of England, which had come into existence by 1126, in the reign of Henry I. The Treasury emerged from the Royal Household. It was where the king kept his treasures. The head of the Treasury was called the Lord Treasurer.
Starting in Tudor times, the Lord Treasurer became one of the chief officers of state, and competed with the Lord Chancellor for the principal place. In 1667, Charles II of England was responsible for appointing George Downing, the builder of Downing Street, to radically reform the Treasury and the collection of taxes.
The Treasury was first put in commission (placed under the control of several people instead of only one) in May or June 1660. The first commissioners were the Duke of Albermarle, Lord Ashley, (Sir) W. Coventry, (Sir) J. Duncomb, and (Sir) T. Clifford. After 1714, the Treasury was always in commission. The commissioners were referred to as the Lords of the Treasury and were given a number based on their seniority. Eventually the First Lord of the Treasury came to be seen as the natural head of government, and from Robert Walpole on, the holder of the office began to be known, unofficially, as the Prime Minister. Until 1827, the First Lord of the Treasury, when a commoner, also held the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, while if the First Lord was a peer, the Second Lord usually served as Chancellor. Since 1827, however, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has always been Second Lord of the Treasury.
As of April 2020, the Treasury Ministers are as follows:
|Boris Johnson||First Lord of the Treasury||Prime Minister, formal head of the Treasury|
|Rishi Sunak||Chancellor of the Exchequer
Second Lord of the Treasury
|Overall responsibility for the department; fiscal policy (including the presenting of the annual Budget); monetary policy, setting inflation targets; ministerial arrangements (in his role as Second Lord of the Treasury).|
|Stephen Barclay||Chief Secretary to the Treasury||spending reviews and strategic planning; in-year spending control; public sector pay and pensions; Annually Managed Expenditure (AME) and welfare reform; efficiency and value for money in public service; procurement; capital investment; infrastructure spending; housing and planning; spending issues related to trade; transport policy, including HS2, Crossrail 2, Roads, Network Rail, Oxford/Cambridge corridor; Treasury interest in devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; women in the economy; skills, labour market policy and childcare policy, including tax free childcare; tax credits policy; housing and planning; legislative strategy; state pensions/ pensioner benefits; freeports – with support from FST on customs aspects.|
|Mark Spencer||Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury||Government Chief Whip, formally a junior minister in the Treasury|
|Jesse Norman||Financial Secretary to the Treasury||leading on the UK tax system including direct, indirect, business, property and personal taxation; corporate and small business taxation; Value Added Tax (VAT); European and international tax issues; overall responsibility for the Finance Bill; National Insurance Bill; customs policy; HMRC planning and delivery of our future partnership with the EU; departmental Minister for HM Revenue and Customs and the Valuation Office Agency and the Government Actuary's Department; tariffs policy; trade policy; freeports (CST policy lead – FST support on customs); infrastructure policy:
National Infrastructure Strategy, National Infrastructure Commission; Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA, joint with Cabinet Office); Public - Private Partnerships; (PPPs) and Private Finance Initiatives (PFI/PFI2); parliamentary deputy on public spending issues.
|The Lord Agnew of Oulton||Minister of State for Efficiency and Transformation
(Jointly with Cabinet Office)
|Supporting the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to deliver cross-government efficiency and public sector transformation improvements including: public value and planning and performance; supporting the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on cross-government functions and controls, including public bodies and Cabinet Office domestic; supporting procurement and other government functional activity relating to COVID-19.|
|John Glen||Economic Secretary to the Treasury||banking and financial services reform and regulation; financial stability, including relationship with the PRA; financial conduct, including relationship with the FCA; financial services including all banking, insurance, asset management; retail financial services, including banking competition, consumer finance, financial advice and capability; bank lending and access to finance; financial Inclusion (lead on the government's financial inclusion agenda); access to affordable; credit, including credit unions; women in finance agenda; EU financial services including EU exit and decisions as a member state; city competitiveness, including global financial markets, Global Financial Partnerships and financial services trade; green finance, Islamic finance, and Fintech; financial services taxation, including bank levy, bank corp. tax surcharge, IPT; personal savings tax and pensions tax policy; sponsorship of UKGI and State owned financial assets – RBS, UKAR; financial sanctions and countering economic crime and illicit finance; foreign exchange reserves and debt management policy, National Savings and Investments and the Debt; Management Office; cash and payments including, Royal Mint
parliamentary deputy on economy issues.
|Kemi Badenoch||Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury||UK growth and productivity; regional devolution, City deals, Northern Powerhouse, Midlands Engine, Ox-Cam Arc; place based economic strategy; better regulation and competition policy; R&D and science policy; skills, migration, National Retraining Scheme and apprenticeship levy; digital, fibre and mobile; patient Capital Review; implementation; promoting UK as a destination for FDI (non-FS); energy infrastructure, energy, environment and climate policy; the HMT review (net zero) into the costs of decarbonisation; new nuclear; roll out of green infrastructure; consumer bills vs tax; energy and environment taxes, including plastics taxation and carbon taxes; transport taxation including vehicle taxes and future strategy and air passenger duty; North Sea oil, gas and shipping; Small Business Policy (including prompt payments and FSB stakeholder engagement).
The following indirect taxes:
excise duties (alcohol, tobacco and gambling), including excise fraud and law enforcement; soft drink industry levy; charities, the voluntary sector and gift aid corporate governance; supporting tax legislation in Parliament; implementation of the Rose Review; Crown Estate and the Royal Household; overseas territories and Crown dependencies; departmental minister for HM Treasury Group
Some of the government whips are also associated in name with the Treasury: the Chief Whip is nominally Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and traditionally had an office in 12 Downing Street. Some of the other whips are nominally Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, though they are all members of the House of Commons. Being a whip is a party, rather than a government, position; the appointments to the Treasury are sinecure positions which allow the whips to be paid ministerial salaries. This has led to the Government front bench in the Commons being known as the Treasury Bench. However, since the whips no longer have any effective ministerial roles in the Treasury, they are usually not listed as Treasury ministers.
|UK Government Departments|
The position of Permanent Secretary of HM Treasury is generally regarded as the second most influential in the British Civil Service; two recent incumbents have gone on to be Cabinet Secretary, the only post outranking it.
- Francis Mowatt (1894–1903)
- George Murray (1903–1911)
- John Bradbury (1913–1919)
- Robert Chalmers (1916–1919)
- Warren Fisher (1919–1939)
- Horace Wilson (1939–1942)
- Richard Hopkins (1942–1945)
- Edward Bridges (1945–1956)
- Roger Makins (1956–1959)
- Frank Lee (1960–1962)
- Norman Brook (1956–1963)
- Laurence Helsby (1963–1968)
- William Armstrong (1962–1968)
- Douglas Allen (1968–1974)
- Douglas Wass (1974–1983)
- Peter Middleton (1983–1991)
- Terence Burns (1991–1998)
- Andrew Turnbull (1998–2002)
- Gus O'Donnell (2002–2005)
- Nicholas Macpherson (2005–2016)
- Tom Scholar (since 2016)
As of July 2016 the Second Permanent Secretary is Charles Roxburgh. Between 2007 and 2010, the post of Head of the Government Economic Service (GES) was held jointly by the Managing Director of Macroeconomic and Fiscal Policy in HM Treasury, Dave Ramsden, and Vicky Pryce, Chief Economist in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Ramsden is now sole Head of the GES. The previous Head of the GES was Sir Nick Stern. Management support for GES members is provided by the Economists in Government team, which is located in HM Treasury's building.
Banknotes in the UK are normally issued by the Bank of England and a number of commercial banks (see Banknotes of the pound sterling). At the start of the First World War, the Currency and Bank Notes Act 1914 was passed, giving the Treasury temporary powers to issue banknotes in two denominations, one at £1 and another at 10 shillings, in the UK. Treasury notes had full legal tender status and were not convertible for gold through the Bank of England. They replaced the gold coin in circulation to prevent a run on sterling and to enable purchases of raw materials for armaments production. These notes featured an image of King George V (Bank of England notes did not begin to display an image of the monarch until 1960). The wording on each note was UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND — Currency notes are Legal Tender for the payment of any amount — Issued by the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury under the Authority of Act of Parliament (4 & 5 Geo. V c.14). Notes issued after the partition of Ireland from 1922 had the wording changed to read "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
The promise (never adhered to) was that they would be removed from circulation after the war had ended. In fact, the notes were issued until 1928, when the Currency and Bank Notes Act 1928 returned note-issuing powers to the banks.
Associated public bodies
Executive agencies of HM Treasury
- UK Debt Management Office, reporting to the Financial Services Secretary, is responsible for government borrowing operations.
Other bodies reporting to Treasury ministers
- Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, a non-ministerial government department for which the responsible minister is the Exchequer Secretary
- National Savings and Investments, an executive agency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer
- Office for Budget Responsibility, a non-departmental public body of HM Treasury
- Office of Tax Simplification, an independent office of HM Treasury
- Royal Mint, a Treasury-owned coinage company
- UK Financial Investments, a Treasury-owned company with UK banking interests
History of the Treasury Main Building
The Treasury Main Building at 1 Horse Guards Road, often referred to as the Government Offices, Great George Street (GOGGS), was designed by John Brydon following a competition. Construction took place in two phases. The West end was completed in 1908 and the East end was completed in 1917. It was originally built as offices for the Board of Education, the Local Government Board, and the Ministry of Works Office; HM Treasury moved into the building in 1940. A major refurbishment of the building was procured under a Private Finance Initiative contract in 2000. The works, which were designed by Foster and Partners together with Feilden and Mawson and carried out by Bovis Lend Lease at a cost of £140 million, were completed in 2002.
The Treasury publishes cross-government guidance including The Green Book: appraisal and evaluation in central government.
- Economy of the United Kingdom
- List of Lords Commissioners of the Treasury
- List of Lord High Treasurers of England and Great Britain
- Lord High Treasurer
- United Kingdom budget
- "HMT workforce management information: February 2015". GOV.UK. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
- Budget 2011 (PDF). London: HM Treasury. 2011. p. 48. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 August 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- Rosenbaum, Martin. "BBC - Open Secrets: How big is the Coins database?". Retrieved 6 September 2016.
- Hollister, C. Warren (1978). "The Origins of the English Treasury". The English Historical Review. 93 (367): 262–275. doi:10.1093/ehr/XCIII.CCCLXVII.262. JSTOR 567061.
- Open Domesday Retrieved 2012-06-25
- HM Treasury:History
- D C Douglas - William the Conqueror: The Norman Impact Upon England University of California Press, 1 May 1967 ISBN 0520003500 Retrieved 2012-06-25
- W Lowndes and D M Gill - The Treasury, 1660-1714 Vol. 46, No. 184 (Oct., 1931) Retrieved 2012-06-25
- Samuel Pepys (R Latham) - The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Esq., F.R.S. From 1659 to 1669 with Memoir, Echo Library, 30 May 2006 ISBN 1847028926 sourced - . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. p. 400.
- Secondary - from Cambridge Dictionaries
- (Baron) T B Macaulay - History of England, Volume 1 CUP Archive, 18 January 2012 Retrieved 2012-06-25
- "New Second Permanent Secretary to the Treasury appointed". GOV.UK. 4 July 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
- Trevor R Howard. "Treasury notes". Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- HM Treasury: About GOGGS
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)