HM Treasury

His Majesty's Treasury (HM Treasury), occasionally referred to as the Exchequer, or more informally the Treasury, is a department of His Majesty's Government responsible for developing and executing the government's public finance policy and economic policy.[3] 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,[4] and from which the Whole of Government Accounts (WGA) annual financial statements are produced.

His Majesty's Treasury
Logo of HM Treasury
Flag of HM Treasury

Government Offices, Great George Street
Department overview
FormedBefore 1086
JurisdictionGovernment of the United Kingdom
Headquarters1 Horse Guards Road
Westminster, London
Employees1169 FTE (+113 in DMO)[1]
Annual budget£3.8 billion (current) & £300 million (capital) for Chancellor's Departments in 2011–12[2]
Ministers responsible
Department executive
  • James Bowler, Permanent Secretary to the Treasury
Child Department


The origins 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.[5] 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.[6]

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 King 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, King Charles II 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.[7] The first commissioners were the Duke of Albemarle, Lord Ashley, (Sir) W. Coventry, (Sir) J. Duncomb, and (Sir) T. Clifford.[8] 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 £1,600 a year.[9]


As of February 2023, the Treasury Ministers are as follows:

Minister Title Portfolio
Rishi Sunak First Lord of the Treasury Formal head of the Treasury, concurrently serves as the Prime Minister.
Jeremy Hunt 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).
John Glen 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.
Simon Hart Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury Government Chief Whip, formally a junior minister in the Treasury
Victoria Atkins 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.

Andrew Griffith 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.

James Cartlidge 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.

Permanent secretaries

The position of Permanent Secretary to the 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.

As of October 2022 the Second Permanent Secretaries are Cat Little and Beth Russell.[10] 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.


The Treasury publishes cross-government guidance including Managing Public Money [11] and The Green Book: Central Government Guidance on appraisal and evaluation, current version dated 2020.[12] Managing Public Money includes a definition of "value for money":

Value for money ... means securing the best mix of quality and effectiveness for the least outlay over the period of use of the goods or services bought. It is not about minimising up front prices.[13]

The Green Book includes the historic five case model, which requires consideration of the policy, economic, commercial, financial and management dimensions of a proposed project.[12]:19

Banknote issue

A 10-shilling HM Treasury note depicting George V.

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.[14]

Associated public bodies

Executive agencies of HM Treasury

Other bodies reporting to Treasury ministers

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.[15] Construction took place in two phases. The West end was completed in 1908 and the East end was completed in 1917.[15] 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.[15] 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.[16]

See also


  1. "HMT workforce management information: February 2015". GOV.UK. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  2. Budget 2011 (PDF). London: HM Treasury. 2011. p. 48. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 August 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  3. Her Majesty's Treasury. Retrieved 4 September 2021.
  4. Rosenbaum, Martin. "BBC - Open Secrets: How big is the Coins database?". Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  5. 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
  6. D C Douglas - William the Conqueror: The Norman Impact Upon England University of California Press, 1 May 1967 ISBN 0520003500 Retrieved 2012-06-25
  7. W Lowndes and D M Gill - The Treasury, 1660-1714 Vol. 46, No. 184 (Oct., 1931) Retrieved 2012-06-25
  8. 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
  9. (Baron) T B Macaulay - History of England, Volume 1 CUP Archive, 18 January 2012 Retrieved 2012-06-25
  10. "New Permanent Secretary Treasury Team Announced". GOV.UK. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  11. H M Treasury, Managing Public Money, last updated 3 June 2021, accessed 19 December 2021
  12. H M Treasury, The Green Book: Central Government Guidance on appraisal and evaluation, current version dated 2020, accessed 19 December 2021
  13. H M Treasury, Managing Public Money, Annex 4.6: Procurement], p. 94, accessed 3 January 2022
  14. Trevor R Howard. "Treasury notes". Archived from the original on 5 December 2007. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
  15. HM Treasury: About GOGGS
  16. "Lend Lease - Commercial Office". Archived from the original on 19 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.

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