The Full Wiki

Chancellor of the Exchequer: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Chancellor of the Exchequer

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chancellor of the Exchequer

AlistairDarlingABr cropped.jpg
Alistair Darling

Style: The Right Honourable
Appointed by: Gordon Brown
as Prime Minister
First : Hervey de Stanton
(England only)
Formation: 22 June 1316

United Kingdom
Coat of Arms of the UK Government

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
the United Kingdom

Other countries · Atlas
Politics portal

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is 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 of Finance or Secretary of the Treasury in other nations. 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 Minister. The office is the only remaining one of the four Great Offices of State to have never been filled by a woman.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is now always Second Lord of the Treasury as one of the Lords Commissioners for executing the office of [Lord High Treasurer]. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries it was common for the Prime Minister to also serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer if he sat in the Commons; the last Chancellor who was simultaneously Prime Minister & First Lord of the Treasury was Stanley Baldwin in 1923. Formerly, in cases when the Chancellorship was vacant, the Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench would act as Chancellor pro tempore.[1] The last Lord Chief Justice to serve in this way was Lord Denman in 1834.

The Chancellor is the third-oldest major state office in English and British history, one which originally carried responsibility for the Exchequer, the medieval English institution for the collection of royal revenues, The Exchequer dates from the time of Henry I. The Chancellor controlled monetary policy as well as fiscal policy until 1997, when the Bank of England was granted independent control of its interest rates. The Chancellor also has oversight of public spending across Government departments.

The office should not be confused with those of the Lord 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.

The current Chancellor of the Exchequer is Alistair Darling.


Roles and responsibilities

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 entrusted with a certain amount of misery which it is his duty to distribute as fairly as he can."


Fiscal policy

The Chancellor has 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. Gordon Brown, who became Chancellor when Labour came into Government in 1997, had a large personal power base in the party. Perhaps as a result, Tony Blair chose to keep him in his job throughout his ten years as Prime Minister; making Brown an unusually dominant figure and the longest serving Chancellor since the Reform Act of 1832[2]. 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.

One part 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 Budget Day, 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, 2006, 2007 and 2008 Budgets were all delivered on a Wednesday.

Monetary policy

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.[3] 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.

Ministerial arrangements

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, a member of the Cabinet, to whom the negotiations with other government departments on the details of government spending are delegated, followed by the Paymaster General, 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.

Accoutrements of office

Official residence

The Chancellor's official residence is No. 11 Downing Street. In 1997, the then 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 although No. 11 was still officially Brown's residence, he actually resided in the apartment in the attic of No. 10, and Blair — although officially residing in No. 10 — actually lived in the attic apartment of No. 11.

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 ministerial 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 Ewart 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. Prior to Gladstone, a generic red briefcase of varying design and specification was used. The practice is said to have begun in the late 16th century, when Queen Elizabeth I's representative Francis Throckmorton presented the Spanish Ambassador, Bernardino de Mendoza, with a specially constructed red briefcase filled with black puddings.[citation needed]

In July 1997, 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.

In March 2008, Alistair Darling reverted to using the original budget briefcase.

Chancellors of the Exchequer of England, 1316-1327

Name Took office Left office
Hervey de Stanton 1316 1327

Chancellors of the Exchequer of England, c. 1558-1708

Name Portrait Took office Left office
Sir John Baker SirJohnBaker.jpg c. 1558 c. 1559
Sir Richard Sackville No image.svg c. 1559 1566
Sir Walter Mildmay Mildmay.jpg 1566 1589
Sir John Fortescue John Fortescue of Salden.jpg 1589 1603
The Earl of Dunbar No image.svg 1603 1606
Sir Julius Caesar SirJuliusCaesar.jpg 1606 1614
Sir Fulke Greville Fulke Greville 1st Baron Brooke.jpg 1614 1621
Sir Richard Weston RichardWeston.jpg 1621 1628
The Lord Barrett of Newburgh No image.svg 1628 1629
The Lord Cottington LordCottington.jpg 1629 1642
Sir John Colepeper 1stLordColepeper.jpg 1642 1643
Sir Edward Hyde WH 1st Earl of Clarendon.png 19 July 1642 1646
The Lord Ashley Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury.jpg 13 May 1661 22 November 1672
Sir John Duncombe No image.svg 22 November 1672 2 May 1676
Sir John Ernle No image.svg 2 May 1676 9 April 1689
The Lord Delamere Warrington.jpg 9 April 1689 18 March 1690
Richard Hampden No image.svg 18 March 1690 10 May 1694
Charles Montagu 1stEarlOfHalifax.jpg 10 May 1694 2 June 1699
John Smith JohnSmithSpeaker.jpg 2 June 1699 27 March 1701
Hon. Henry Boyle CarletonBaron.jpg 27 March 1701 22 April 1708

Chancellors of the Exchequer of Great Britain, 1708-1817

Robert Walpole, de facto first Prime Minister who also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer for more than 22 years. In this picture Walpole is wearing the Chancellor's robe of office.
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 Portrait Took office Left office Political party Prime Minister
Sir John Smith JohnSmithSpeaker.jpg 22 April 1708 11 August 1710 Whig
Robert Harley RobertHarleyInColour.jpg 11 August 1710 4 June 1711 Tory
Robert Benson Robert Benson, Lord Bingley.jpg 4 June 1711 21 August 1713 Tory
Sir William Wyndham, Bt Sir William Wyndham, 3rd Bt by Jonathan Richardson.jpg 21 August 1713 13 October 1714 Tory
Sir Richard Onslow, Bt 1stLordOnslow.jpg 13 October 1714 12 October 1715 Whig
Robert Walpole Robert Walpole prime minister of Britain.jpg 12 October 1715 15 April 1717 Whig
The Viscount Stanhope James Stanhope, 1st Earl Stanhope.jpg 15 April 1717 20 March 1718 Whig
John Aislabie John Aislabie.jpg 20 March 1718 23 January 1721 Whig
Sir John Pratt
Sir John Pratt LCJ.jpg 2 February 1721 3 April 1721 Whig
Sir Robert Walpole Robert Walpole prime minister of Britain.jpg 3 April 1721 12 February 1742 Whig Sir Robert Walpole
Samuel Sandys 1stLordSandys.jpg 12 February 1742 12 December 1743 Whig The Earl of Wilmington
Henry Pelham[4] Henry Pelham.jpg 12 December 1743 8 March 1754 Whig Henry Pelham
Sir William Lee
SirWilliamLee.jpg 8 March 1754 6 April 1754 Whig The Duke of Newcastle
Henry Bilson Legge HenryBilsonLegge.jpg 6 April 1754 25 November 1755 Whig
Sir George Lyttelton, Bt George Lyttelton, 1st Baron Lyttelton from NPG.jpg 25 November 1755 16 November 1756 Whig
Henry Bilson Legge HenryBilsonLegge.jpg 16 November 1756 13 April 1757 Whig The Duke of Devonshire
The Lord Mansfield
William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield.jpg 13 April 1757 2 July 1757 Whig The Duke of Newcastle
Henry Bilson Legge HenryBilsonLegge.jpg 2 July 1757 19 March 1761 Whig
The Viscount Barrington 2ndViscountBarrington.jpg 19 March 1761 29 May 1762 Whig
Sir Francis Dashwood, Bt Sirfrancisdashwood.jpg 29 May 1762 16 April 1763 Tory The Earl of Bute
George Grenville[4] George Grenville.png 16 April 1763 16 July 1765 Whig George Grenville
William Dowdeswell No image.svg 16 July 1765 2 August 1766 Whig The Marquess of Rockingham
Hon. Charles Townshend[5] CharlesTownshend.jpg 2 August 1766 4 September 1767 (died) Whig The Earl of Chatham
Lord North[4] Nathaniel Dance Lord North.jpg 11 September 1767 27 March 1782 Tory The Duke of Grafton
Lord North
Lord John Cavendish Lord John Cavendish after Sir Joshua Reynolds.jpg 27 March 1782 10 July 1782 Whig The Marquess of Rockingham
William Pitt the Younger Pitt the Younger.jpg 10 July 1782 31 March 1783 Whig The Earl of Shelburne
Lord John Cavendish Lord John Cavendish after Sir Joshua Reynolds.jpg 2 April 1783 19 December 1783 Whig
(Fox-North Coalition)
The Duke of Portland
William Pitt the Younger[4] Pitt the Younger.jpg 19 December 1783 14 March 1801 Tory William Pitt the Younger
Henry Addington[4] Henry Addington.jpg 14 March 1801 10 May 1804 Tory Henry Addington
William Pitt the Younger [4][5] Pitt the Younger.jpg 10 May 1804 23 January 1806 (died) Tory William Pitt the Younger
Lord Henry Petty Lord Henry Petty.jpg 5 February 1806 26 March 1807 Whig
(Ministry of All the Talents)
Lord Grenville
Spencer Perceval[5] Spencerperceval.jpg 26 March 1807 12 May 1812 (died) Tory The Duke of Portland
Spencer Perceval
Nicholas Vansittart 1stLordBexley.jpg 12 May 1812 12 July 1817 Tory Lord Liverpool

Chancellors of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom, 1817-1902

Although the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland had been united by the Act of Union 1800 (39 & 40 Geo. III c. 67), the Exchequers of the two Kingdoms were not consolidated until 1817 under 56 Geo. III c. 98[6]. For the holders of the Irish office before this date, see Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Name Portrait Took office Left office Political party Prime Minister
Nicholas Vansittart 1stLordBexley.jpg 12 July 1817 31 January 1823 Tory Lord Liverpool
Frederick John Robinson FrederickJohnRobinson.jpg 31 January 1823 20 April 1827 Tory
George Canning[5] Canning.jpg 20 April 1827 8 August 1827 (died) Tory George Canning
The Lord Tenterden
1stLordTenterden.jpg 8 August 1827 3 September 1827 Tory The Viscount Goderich
John Charles Herries John Charles Herries.jpg 3 September 1827 26 January 1828 Tory
Henry Goulburn Henry Goulburn.JPG 26 January 1828 22 November 1830 Tory The Duke of Wellington
Viscount Althorp 3rdEarlSpencer.JPG 22 November 1830 14 November 1834 Whig The Earl Grey
The Viscount Melbourne
The Lord Denman 1stLordDenman.jpg 14 November 1834 15 December 1834 Whig
(Conservative Provisional Government)
The Duke of Wellington
Sir Robert Peel, Bt Robert Peel.jpg 15 December 1834 8 April 1835 Conservative Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Thomas Spring Rice 1stBaronMonteagle.jpg 18 April 1835 26 August 1839 Whig The Viscount Melbourne
Francis Baring Francis Baring, 1st Baron Northbrook by Sir George Hayter.jpg 26 August 1839 30 August 1841 Whig
Henry Goulburn Henry Goulburn.JPG 3 September 1841 27 June 1846 Conservative Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Sir Charles Wood, Bt 1stViscountHalifax.jpg 6 July 1846 21 February 1852 Whig Lord John Russell
Benjamin Disraeli Disraeli.jpg 27 February 1852 17 December 1852 Conservative The Earl of Derby
William Ewart Gladstone Gladstone.jpg 28 December 1852 28 February 1855 Peelite
The Earl of Aberdeen
Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Bt George Cornewall Lewis statue cropped.jpg 28 February 1855 21 February 1858 Whig The Viscount Palmerston
Benjamin Disraeli Disraeli.jpg 26 February 1858 11 June 1859 Conservative The Earl of Derby
William Ewart Gladstone Gladstone.jpg 18 June 1859 26 June 1866 Liberal The Viscount Palmerston
The Earl Russell
Benjamin Disraeli Disraeli.jpg 6 July 1866 29 February 1868 Conservative The Earl of Derby
George Ward Hunt George Ward Hunt.jpg 29 February 1868 1 December 1868 Conservative Benjamin Disraeli
Robert Lowe Robert Lowe, 1st Viscount Sherbrooke by George Frederic Watts.jpg 9 December 1868 11 August 1873 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone[4] Gladstone.jpg 11 August 1873 17 February 1874 Liberal
Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt Стаффорд Генри Норткот.jpg 21 February 1874 21 April 1880 Conservative Benjamin Disraeli
William Ewart Gladstone[4] Gladstone.jpg 28 April 1880 16 December 1882 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Hugh Childers Hugh Culling Eardley Childers by Emily Maria Eardley ('Milly') Childers.jpg 16 December 1882 9 June 1885 Liberal
Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Bt St Aldwyn Michael Edward Hicks-Beach (1st Earl).jpg 24 June 1885 28 January 1886 Conservative The Marquess of Salisbury
Sir William Vernon Harcourt
Sir William Harcourt.jpg 6 February 1886 20 July 1886 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Lord Randolph Churchill Randolph Churchill.jpg 3 August 1886 22 December 1886 Conservative The Marquess of Salisbury
George Goschen George Goschen.jpg 14 January 1887 11 August 1892 Liberal Unionist
Sir William Vernon Harcourt Sir William Harcourt.jpg 18 August 1892 21 June 1895 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
The Earl of Rosebery
Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Bt St Aldwyn Michael Edward Hicks-Beach (1st Earl).jpg 29 June 1895 11 August 1902 Conservative The Marquess of Salisbury

Chancellors of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom, 1902 to date

Name Portrait Took office Left office Political party Prime Minister
Charles Ritchie Charles Thomson Ritchie.png 11 August 1902 9 October 1903 Conservative Arthur Balfour
Austen Chamberlain Austen Chamberlain.jpg 9 October 1903 4 December 1905 Liberal Unionist
H. H. Asquith H H Asquith 1908.jpg 10 December 1905 12 April 1908 Liberal Henry Campbell-Bannerman
David Lloyd George Lloyd George.jpg 12 April 1908 25 May 1915 Liberal Herbert Henry Asquith
Reginald McKenna Reginald McKenna photo.jpg 25 May 1915 10 December 1916 Liberal
Andrew Bonar Law Andrew Bonar Law 02.jpg 10 December 1916 10 January 1919 Conservative
David Lloyd George
Austen Chamberlain Austen Chamberlain.jpg 10 January 1919 1 April 1921
Sir Robert Horne Robert Horne cropped.jpg 1 April 1921 19 October 1922
Stanley Baldwin Stanley Baldwin ggbain.35233.jpg 27 October 1922 27 August 1923 Conservative Andrew Bonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
Neville Chamberlain Arthur-Neville-Chamberlain.jpg 27 August 1923 22 January 1924 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
Philip Snowden Philip Snowden, 1st Viscount Snowden.jpg 22 January 1924 3 November 1924 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
Winston Churchill Churchill V sign HU 55521.jpg 6 November 1924 4 June 1929 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
Philip Snowden Philip Snowden, 1st Viscount Snowden.jpg 7 June 1929 24 August 1931 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
24 August 1931 5 November 1931 National Labour
(National Government)
Neville Chamberlain Arthur-Neville-Chamberlain.jpg 5 November 1931 28 May 1937 Conservative
(National Government)
Ramsay MacDonald
Stanley Baldwin
Sir John Simon JohnSimon.JPG 28 May 1937 12 May 1940 Liberal National
(National Government;
War Government)
Neville Chamberlain
Sir Kingsley Wood [5] Kingsley Wood cropped.jpg 12 May 1940 21 September 1943 (died) Conservative
Winston Churchill
Sir John Anderson John Anderson cropped.jpg 24 September 1943 26 July 1945 National Independent
Hugh Dalton Hugh Dalton HU 059487.jpg 27 July 1945 13 November 1947 Labour Clement Attlee
Sir Stafford Cripps Stafford cripps.jpg 13 November 1947 19 October 1950 Labour
Hugh Gaitskell No image.svg 19 October 1950 26 October 1951 Labour
R. A. Butler This file is a candidate for speedy deletion. It may be deleted after seven days from the date of nomination. 26 October 1951 20 December 1955 Conservative Sir Winston Churchill
Harold Macmillan Macmillan cph.3b40592.jpg 20 December 1955 13 January 1957 Conservative Sir Anthony Eden
Peter Thorneycroft This file is a candidate for speedy deletion. It may be deleted after seven days from the date of nomination. 13 January 1957 6 January 1958 Conservative Harold Macmillan
Derick Heathcoat-Amory This file is a candidate for speedy deletion. It may be deleted after seven days from the date of nomination. 6 January 1958 27 July 1960 Conservative
Selwyn Lloyd Selwyn Lloyd cropped.jpg 27 July 1960 13 July 1962 Conservative
Reginald Maudling Maudlingwins cropped.jpg 13 July 1962 16 October 1964 Conservative
Sir Alec Douglas-Home
James Callaghan James Callaghan.JPG 16 October 1964 30 November 1967 Labour Harold Wilson
Roy Jenkins Roy Jenkins, Chancellor of Oxford.jpg 30 November 1967 19 June 1970 Labour
Iain Macleod[5] No image.svg 20 June 1970 20 July 1970 (died) Conservative Edward Heath
Anthony Barber No image.svg 25 July 1970 28 February 1974 Conservative
Denis Healey Denis Healey Davos.jpg 1 March 1974 4 May 1979 Labour Harold Wilson
James Callaghan
Sir Geoffrey Howe Geoffrey Howe.jpg 4 May 1979 11 June 1983 Conservative Margaret Thatcher
Nigel Lawson No image.svg 11 June 1983 26 October 1989 Conservative
John Major John Major 1996.jpg 26 October 1989 28 November 1990 Conservative
Norman Lamont No image.svg 28 November 1990 27 May 1993 Conservative John Major
Kenneth Clarke Ken Clarke 01.jpg 27 May 1993 2 May 1997 Conservative
Gordon Brown Gordon Brown Davos Jan 08.jpg 2 May 1997 27 June 2007 Labour Tony Blair
Alistair Darling AlistairDarlingABr cropped.jpg 28 June 2007 incumbent Labour Gordon Brown

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Joseph Haydn, Horace Ockerby (ed.): The Book of Dignities, 3rd edition, Part III (Political and Official), p. 164. W.H. Allen & Co., London 1894, reprinted by Firecrest Publishing Ltd, Bath, 1969
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Also served as Prime Minister for some or all of their Chancellorship.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Died in office.
  6. ^ Joseph Haydn, Horace Ockerby (ed.): The Book of Dignities, 3rd edition, Part X (Ireland), p. 562. W.H. Allen & Co., London 1894, reprinted by Firecrest Publishing Ltd, Bath, 1969

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun

Chancellor of the Exchequer


Chancellor of the Exchequer

  1. The official title held by the British cabinet minister, who is responsible for all governmental economic and financial matters, including the treasury.

Simple English

Alistair Darling, the current Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is a political office in the United Kingdom. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, sometimes shortened to The Chancellor, is responsible for Britain's money and economy. In other countries the job is called Minister of the Treasury or of Finance

Other well-known Chancellors of the Exchequer include Robert Peel and Winston Churchill.


List of the Chancellors of the Exchequer

Chancellors of the Exchequer of England

Chancellors of the Exchequer of Great Britain

Many Chancellors were also Prime Minister for some or all of the time they were Chancellor. These are shown with a *

Chancellors of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address