Chancellor of the Exchequer

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British cabinet minister responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called The Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister for Finance or Secretary of the Treasury in other jurisdictions. The position is considered one of the four Great Offices of State and in recent times has come to be the most powerful office in British politics after the Prime Ministership. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer is Gordon Brown.

The Chancellor is the third oldest major state office in English and United Kingdom history, one which originally carried responsibility for the Exchequer, the medieval English institution for the collection of royal revenues. Until recently, the Chancellor controlled monetary policy as well as fiscal policy, but this ended when the Bank of England was granted independent control of its interest rates in 1997. He (all Chancellors to date have been men) also has oversight of public spending across Government departments.

The office should not be confused with those of the Lord High Chancellor or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, both Cabinet posts, the Chancellor of the High Court, a senior judge, or the Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, a defunct judicial office.

Contents

[edit] Roles and responsibilities

Image:Treasury.london.arp.jpg
The Treasury, Whitehall

One of the Chancellor's key roles involves the framing of the annual "Budget", which is summarised in a speech to the House of Commons. Traditionally the budget speech was delivered on a Tuesday (although not always) in March, as Britain's tax year follows the Julian Calendar. From 1993, the Budget was preceded by an annual 'Autumn Statement', now called the Pre-Budget Report, which forecasts government spending in the next year and usually takes place in November or December. This preview of the next year's Budget is also referred to as the "mini-Budget". The 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2006 Budgets were delivered on a Wednesday.

Although the Bank of England is responsible for setting interest rates, the Chancellor also plays an important part in the monetary policy structure. He sets the inflation target which the Bank must set interest rates to meet. Under the Bank of England Act 1998 the Chancellor has the power of appointment of four out of nine members of the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee - the so-called 'external' members. He also has a high level of influence over the appointment of the Bank's Governor and Deputy Governors, and has the right of consultation over the appointment of the two remaining MPC members from within the Bank. [1] The Act also provides that the Government has the power to give instructions to the Bank on interest rates for a limited period in extreme circumstances. This power has never been used.

In addition to his specific powers, the Chancellor may have considerable control over other departments as it is the Treasury which sets departmental expenditure limits. The amount of power this gives to an individual Chancellor depends on his personal forcefulness, his status with his party and his relationship with the Prime Minister. The present Chancellor, Gordon Brown, has a large personal power base in the party. Perhaps as a result, Tony Blair has chosen to keep him in his job since taking office in 1997, making Brown an unusually dominant figure. This situation has strengthened a pre-existing trend towards the Chancellorship moving into a clear second among government offices, elevated above its traditional peers, the Foreign Secretaryship and Home Secretaryship.

At HM Treasury the Chancellor is supported by a political team of four junior ministers and by permanent Civil Servants. The most important junior minister is the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, to whom the negotiations with other government departments on the details of government spending are delegated, followed by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and the Economic Secretary to the Treasury. Two other officials are given the title of a Secretary to the Treasury, although neither is a government minister in the Treasury: the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury is the Government Chief Whip in the House of Commons; the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury is not a minister but the senior civil servant in the Treasury.

The holder of the office of Chancellor is ex-officio Second Lord of the Treasury. As Second Lord, his official residence is Number 11 Downing Street in London, next door to the residence of the First Lord of the Treasury (a post usually though not always held by the Prime Minister), who resides in 10 Downing Street. While in the past both houses were private residences, today they serve as interlinked offices, with the occupant living in a small apartment made from attic rooms previously resided in by servants.

The Chancellor is obliged to be a member of the Privy Council, and thus is styled the Right Honourable (Rt. Hon.). Because the House of Lords is excluded from Finance bills, the office is effectively limited to members of the House of Commons.

[edit] Trivia

In 1997, the current First and Second Lords, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown respectively, swapped apartments, as the Chancellor's apartment in No. 11 was bigger and thus better suited to the needs of Blair (who had children) than Brown who was at that stage unmarried. So though No. 11 is still officially Brown's residence, he actually resides in the apartment in the attic of No. 10, and Blair — though officially residing in No. 10 — actually lives in the attic apartment of No. 11.

A previous Chancellor, Robert Lowe, described the office in the following terms in the House of Commons, on 11 April 1870: "The Chancellor of the Exchequer is a man whose duties make him more or less of a taxing machine. He is intrusted with a certain amount of misery which it is his duty to distribute as fairly as he can."

Image:Old Budget Box.png
The original 'Budget Box'

The Chancellor traditionally carries his Budget speech to the House of Commons in a particular red briefcase. The Chancellor's red briefcase is identical to the briefcases used by all other government ministers (known as ministeral boxes or "red boxes") to transport their official papers but is better known because the Chancellor traditionally displays the briefcase, containing the Budget speech, to the press in the morning before delivering the speech. The original Budget briefcase was first used by William Gladstone in 1860 and continued in use until 1965 when James Callaghan was the first Chancellor to break with tradition when he used a newer box.

In July 1997, Chancellor Gordon Brown became the second Chancellor to use a new box for the Budget. Made by industrial trainees at Babcock Rosyth Defence Ltd ship and submarine dockyard in Fife, the new box is made of yellow pine, with a brass handle and lock, covered in scarlet leather and embossed with the Royal initials and crest and the Chancellor's title.

The Townshend Acts were named after Chancellor Townshend, who encouraged taxes to earn revenue from the colonies after the French and Indian or Seven Years War.

[edit] List of holders of the office since 1559

[edit] Chancellors of the Exchequer of England

See Parliament of England.
For the equivalent Scottish post, see Treasurer of Scotland.
Name Period
Sir John Baker unknown
Sir Walter Mildmay 1559–1589
Sir John Fortescue 1589–1603
George Home, 1st Earl of Dunbar 1603–1606
Sir Julius Caesar 1606–1614
Sir Fulke Greville 1614–1621
Sir Richard Weston 1621–1628
Edward Barrett, 1st Lord Barrett of Newburgh 1628–1629
Francis Cottington, 1st Baron Cottington 1629–1642
Sir John Culpepper 1642–1643
Sir Edward Hyde July 19, 1642 - 1646
Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury May 13, 1661 - November 22, 1672
Sir John Duncombe November 22, 1672 - May 2, 1676
Sir John Ernle May 2, 1676 - April 9, 1689
Henry Booth, 2nd Baron Delamere April 9, 1689 - March 18, 1690
Richard Hampden March 18, 1690 - May 10, 1694
Charles Montagu May 10, 1694 - June 2, 1699
John Smith June 2, 1699 - March 27, 1701
Henry Boyle March 27, 1701 - April 22, 1708

[edit] Chancellors of the Exchequer of Great Britain

See Kingdom of Great Britain.
Image:Robertwalpole.jpg
Robert Walpole, de facto first Prime Minister who also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer for more than 22 years
Image:Pitt the Younger.jpg
William Pitt the Younger, Chancellor of the Exchequer for 19 years and 9 months, all but 9 months as Prime Minister simultaneously, and who introduced Britain's first income tax to pay for the Napoleonic Wars.
Name Period
John Smith April 22, 1708 - August 11, 1710
Robert Harley August 11, 1710 - June 4, 1711
Robert Benson June 4, 1711 - August 21, 1713
Sir William Wyndham August 21, 1713 - October 13, 1714
Sir Richard Onslow October 13, 1714 - October 12, 1715
Robert Walpole October 12, 1715 - April 15, 1717
James Stanhope, 1st Viscount Stanhope April 15, 1717 - March 20, 1718
John Aislabie March 20, 1718 - January 23, 1721
Sir John Pratt February 2, 1721 - April 3, 1721
Sir Robert Walpole 1 April 3, 1721 - February 12, 1742
Samuel Sandys February 12, 1742 - December 12, 1743
Henry Pelham 1 December 12, 1743 - March 8, 1754
Sir William Lee March 8, 1754 - April 6, 1754
Henry Bilson Legge April 6, 1754 - November 25, 1755
Sir George Lyttelton November 25, 1755 - November 16, 1756
Henry Bilson Legge November 16, 1756 - April 13, 1757
William Murray, 1st Baron Mansfield April 13, 1757 - July 2, 1757
Henry Bilson Legge July 2, 1757 - March 19, 1761
William Wildman Barrington-Shute, 2nd Viscount Barrington March 19, 1761 - May 29, 1762
Sir Francis Dashwood May 29, 1762 - April 16, 1763
George Grenville April 16, 1763 - July 16, 1765
William Dowdeswell July 16, 1765 - August 2, 1766
Charles Townshend 2 August 2, 1766 - September 4, 1767
Frederick North, Lord North 1 September 11, 1767 - March 27, 1782
Lord John Cavendish March 27, 1782 - July 10, 1782
William Pitt July 10, 1782 - March 31, 1783
Lord John Cavendish April 2, 1783 - December 19, 1783
William Pitt 1 December 19, 1783 - March 14, 1801

1 Also served as Prime Minister for some or all of their Chancellorship.
2 Died in office.

[edit] Chancellors of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom

Image:Gladstone.jpg
William Ewart Gladstone, four times Chancellor of the Exchequer
Image:Howebudget.jpg
Geoffrey Howe, Margaret Thatcher's first Chancellor from 1979-1983.
Image:Gordon Brown portrait.jpg
The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, MP, current Chancellor of the Exchequer
Name Party Period
Henry Addington 1 March 14, 1801 - May 10, 1804
William Pitt 1,2 May 10, 1804 - January 23, 1806
Lord Henry Petty February 5, 1806 - March 26, 1807
Spencer Perceval1,2 March 26, 1807 - May 12, 1812
Nicholas Vansittart May 12, 1812 - January 31, 1823
Frederick John Robinson January 31, 1823 - April 20, 1827
George Canning 1,2 April 20, 1827 - August 8, 1827
Charles Abbott, 1st Baron Tenterden August 8, 1827 - September 3, 1827
John Charles Herries (September 3, 1827 - January 26, 1828
Henry Goulburn January 26, 1828 - November 22, 1830
John Charles Spencer, Viscount Althorp November 22, 1830 - November 14, 1834
Lord Denman November 15 1834 - December 15 1834
Sir Robert Peel 1 December 2, 1834 - April 8, 1835
Thomas Spring Rice April 18, 1835 - August 26, 1839
Sir Francis Thornhill Baring August 26, 1839 - August 30, 1841
Henry Goulburn September 3, 1841 - June 27, 1846
Sir Charles Wood July 6, 1846 - February 21, 1852
Benjamin Disraeli February 27, 1852 - December 17, 1852
William Ewart Gladstone December 28, 1852 - February 28, 1855
Sir George Cornewall Lewis February 28, 1855 - February 21, 1858
Benjamin Disraeli February 26, 1858 - June 11, 1859
William Ewart Gladstone June 18, 1859 - June 26, 1866
Benjamin Disraeli July 6, 1866 - February 29, 1868
George Ward Hunt February 29, 1868 - December 1, 1868
Robert Lowe December 9, 1868 - August 11, 1873
William Ewart Gladstone August 11, 1873 - February 17, 1874
Sir Stafford Henry Northcote February 21, 1874 - April 21, 1880
William Ewart Gladstone 1 April 28, 1880 - December 16, 1882
Hugh Childers December 16, 1882 - June 9, 1885
Sir Michael Hicks Beach June 24, 1885 - January 28, 1886
Sir William Vernon Harcourt February 6, 1886 - July 20, 1886
Lord Randolph Churchill August 3, 1886 - December 22, 1886
George Joachim Goschen January 14, 1887 - August 11, 1892
Sir William Vernon Harcourt August 18, 1892 - June 21, 1895
Sir Michael Hicks Beach June 29, 1895 - August 11, 1902
Charles Thomson Ritchie Conservative August 11, 1902 - October 9, 1903
Austen Chamberlain Liberal October 9, 1903 - December 4, 1905
Herbert Henry Asquith Liberal December 10, 1905 - April 12, 1908
David Lloyd George Liberal April 12, 1908 - May 25, 1915
Reginald McKenna Liberal May 25, 1915 - December 10, 1916
Andrew Bonar Law Conservative December 10, 1916 - January 10, 1919
Austen Chamberlain Liberal January 10, 1919 - April 1, 1921
Sir Robert Stevenson Horne Conservative April 1, 1921 - October 19, 1922
Stanley Baldwin 1 Conservative October 27, 1922 - August 27, 1923
Neville Chamberlain ConservativeAugust 27, 1923 - January 22, 1924
Philip Snowden LabourJanuary 22, 1924 - November 3, 1924
Winston Churchill Conservative November 6, 1924 - June 4, 1929
Philip Snowden LabourJune 7, 1929 - November 5, 1931
Neville Chamberlain Conservative November 5, 1931 - May 28, 1937
Sir John Allsebrooke Simon ConservativeMay 28, 1937 - May 12, 1940
Sir Kingsley Wood National Government May 12, 1940 - September 24, 1943
Sir John Anderson National Government September 24, 1943 - July 26, 1945
Hugh Dalton Labour July 27, 1945 - November 13, 1947
Sir Stafford Cripps Labour November 13, 1947 - October 19, 1950)
Hugh Gaitskell Labour October 19, 1950 - October 26, 1951)
Rab Butler Conservative October 28, 1951 - December 20, 1955
Harold Macmillan Conservative December 20, 1955 - January 13, 1957
Peter Thorneycroft Conservative January 13, 1957 - January 6, 1958
Derick Heathcoat-Amory ConservativeJanuary 6, 1958 - July 27, 1960
Selwyn Lloyd ConservativeJuly 27, 1960 - July 13, 1962
Reginald Maudling Conservative July 13, 1962 - October 16, 1964
James Callaghan Labour October 16, 1964 - November 30, 1967
Roy Jenkins Labour November 30, 1967 - June 19, 1970
Iain Macleod 2 Conservative June 20, 1970 - July 20, 1970
Anthony Barber Conservative July 25, 1970 - March 4, 1974
Denis Healey LabourMarch 5, 1974 - May 4, 1979
Sir Geoffrey Howe Conservative May 5, 1979 - June 11, 1983
Nigel Lawson Conservative June 11, 1983 - October 26, 1989
John Major ConservativeOctober 26, 1989 - November 28, 1990
Norman Lamont ConservativeNovember 28, 1990 - May 27, 1993
Kenneth Clarke ConservativeMay 27, 1993 - May 2, 1997
Gordon Brown Labour May 2, 1997 -

1 Also served as Prime Minister for some or all of their Chancellorship.
2 Died in office.

[edit] See also


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de:Schatzkanzler es:Ministro de Hacienda británico fr:Chancelier de l'Échiquier it:Cancelliere dello Scacchiere ja:財務大臣 (イギリス) no:Storbritannias finansministre pl:Kanclerz Skarbu simple:Chancellor of the Exchequer sv:Chancellor of the Exchequer

Chancellor of the Exchequer

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