|Formed||1066 or earlier|
|Headquarters||1 Horse Guards Road
|Annual budget||£3.8 billion (current) & £300 million (capital) for Chancellor's Departments in 2011-12|
|Minister responsible||George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer|
|Department executive||Nicholas Macpherson, Permanent Secretary to the Treasury|
|Child Department||UK Debt Management Office|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Treasury (HM Treasury), sometimes referred to as the Exchequer, or more informally the Treasury, is the United Kingdom government department responsible for developing and executing the British government's public finance policy and economic policy. The Treasury maintains OSCAR, the replacement for COINS (Combined Online Information System), which contains a detailed analysis of departmental spending under thousands of category headings. and from which the Whole of Government Accounts are now produced.
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, the place 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, and served as the location 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.
During the time when the Treasury was under commission, the junior Lords were each paid sixteen hundred pounds a year.
The first word in the department's name is changed depending upon who is the reigning monarch. If the monarch is male, the department is His Majesty's Treasury. If the monarch is female, as is currently the case under Queen Elizabeth II, the department is Her Majesty's Treasury.
The Treasury Ministers are as follows:
|The Rt Hon. David Cameron MP||First Lord of the Treasury||Prime Minister, formal head of the Treasury|
|The Rt Hon. George Osborne MP||Chancellor of the Exchequer
Second Lord of the Treasury
|The Rt Hon. Danny Alexander MP||Chief Secretary to the Treasury||Public expenditure, devolution matters|
|David Gauke MP||Financial Secretary to the Treasury||Financial services, personal savings and pensions|
|Priti Patel MP||Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury||UK tax system, HM Revenue and Customs, Valuation Office Agency|
|Andrea Leadsom MP||Economic Secretary to the Treasury||Environmental taxation, tax credits, charities, stamp duty, Royal Mint|
|Lord Deighton KBE||Commercial Secretary to the Treasury||Enterprise & productivity, corporate finance, financial crime|
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 Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury, though they are all members of the House of Commons. 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.
The position of Permanent Secretary of HM Treasury is generally regarded as the second most influential in the British Civil Service; the last two incumbents have both 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)
- Sir Nicholas Macpherson (since 2005)
The Second Permanent Secretary is Tom Scholar, the managing director of the International and Finance division. 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 joint 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 to the value of one pound and ten shillings in the UK. Treasury notes had full legal tender status and were not convertible for gold through the Bank of England, replacing 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).
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 Board of Education, the Local Government Board, and the Ministry of Works Office; HM Treasury did not move into the building until 1940. A major refurbishment of the building was completed under a PFI contract by Bovis Lend Lease in 2004.
- Economy of the United Kingdom
- List of Commissioners of the Treasury
- List of Lord Treasurers
- Lord High Treasurer
- United Kingdom budget
- Budget 2011. London: HM Treasury. 2011. p. 48. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- C. Warren Hollister - The Origins of the English Treasury The English Historical Review Vol. 93, No. 367 (Apr., 1978) Retrieved 2012-06-25
- 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 - "Downing, George (1623?-1684)". 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 Jan 2012 Retrieved 2012-06-25
- Cabinet Office List of Government Departments and Ministers: HM Treasury
- Trevor R Howard. "Treasury notes". Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- HM Treasury: About GOGGS
- HM Treasury case study