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The history of HM Treasury

The Treasury Department is by far and away the most influential department of the UK government and handles hundreds of billions of pounds of taxpayer's money on a regular basis. Officially the role of the Treasury is to execute and develop the British government's public finance and economic policy on an ongoing basis as well as collecting taxes from the UK population.

The Treasury can be traced back as early as 1126 having first been part of the royal household when the Royal family played a much more prominent role in the governing of the UK. It was obvious from an early stage that the Treasury Department held a vital role within the UK government and Chancellor of the Exchequer became one of the more prominent roles in the UK government. It was a radical reform of the Treasury back in 1667 which beefed up the collection of taxation in the UK and the overall power of the department.

It is also worth noting that the Treasury Department was until 1928 in charge of issuing banknotes in the UK until the Currency and Banknotes Act 1928 passed this power to the UK clearing banks. The government whips, those members of Parliament who "organise" how members will vote, are surprisingly part of the Treasury even though their activities seem very much at odds. In basic terms, the Treasury Department is the engine room of the UK government and over the last two years, as the UK recession has hit home, it has become more and more prominent in the financial press.

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