The HM Treasury reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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HM Treasury

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The new eastern entrance to HM TreasuryEnlarge

The new eastern entrance to HM Treasury

HM Treasury (Her/His Majesty's Treasury) is the United Kingdom government department responsible for and putting into effect the UK Government's financial and economic policy. The Treasury's stated aim is to raise the rate of sustainable growth, and achieve rising prosperity, through creating economic and employment opportunities for all.

The English Treasury seems to have come into existence around 1126, in the reign of Henry I. The treasury emerged out of 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.

Beginning in the 17th century, the Treasury was frequently entrusted to a commission, rather than to a single individual, and after 1714, it was always in commission. The commissioners were referred to as Lords of the Treasury, and given a number based on seniority. Eventually, the First Lord of the Treasury came to be seen as the natural head of any government, and from Robert Walpole on, began to be known, unofficially, as the prime minister. Before 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 would usually serve as Chancellor. Since 1827, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has always been Second Lord of the Treasury.

Some of the Government Whipss 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 a Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury though these are all members of the House of Commons. This led to the Government frontbench in the Commons being known as the Treasury Bench. Since the Whips no longer have any effective ministerial role in the Treasury, they are not usually listed as Treasury ministers.

Ministers of HM Treasury as of 21 August 2003.

Agencies of HM Treasury

See also: