Monday, July 18, 2011
Secretary to the Treasury of United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, there are several Secretaries to the Treasury, who are junior Treasury ministers nominally acting as secretaries to HM Treasury. The origins of the office are unclear, although it probably originated during Lord Burghley's tenure as Lord Treasurer in the 16th century. The number of secretaries was expanded to two by 1714 at the latest. The Treasury ministers together discharge all the former functions of the Lord Treasurer, which are nowadays nominally vested in the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. Of the Commissioners, only the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a Treasury minister. (The others are the Prime Minister and Government Whips.) The Chancellor is the senior treasury minister, followed by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who is also a Cabinet Minister and has particular responsibilities for public expenditure. The junior ministers are Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury. One of the present-day secretaries, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, commonly known as the Patronage Secretary, is the Government Chief Whip in the House of Commons, not a Treasury minister. The office can be seen as a sinecure, allowing the Chief Whip to draw a government salary, attend Cabinet, and use a Downing Street residence.