The Treasury is portrayed as the villain behind all the constraints on departments. I also agree with Emran about how important it remains to protect the Treasury’s position against overwhelming odds (there are more spending department votes across the Cabinet table than Treasury ones), and the importance of continuity. However, that doesn’t mean there are not a number of things that could be improved. As an academic Treasury-watcher for more than 30 years, my own observations about the institution would be twofold: 1. The official Treasury is too much at the whim of the personality and power of the Chancellor and has lost a proper institutional memory and historical sense of its mission. The Treasury is the most political of all departments. It is the most closely entwined in the fabric of our over-centralised central state. Rather like a very old tree with ivy and mistletoe growing in and around, it is impossible to disentangle the emergence and evolution of the Treasury from the development of the modern British State from the 17th century onwards. It is inextricably linked with the growth of Parliament, the emergence of a First Lord of the Treasury, and with the wielding of the Royal […]

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