British government departments
The government of the United Kingdom exercises its executive authority through a number of government departments or departments of state. A department is composed of employed officials, known as civil servants, is politically accountable through a minister. Most major departments are headed by a secretary of state, who sits in the cabinet, supported by a team of junior ministers. There are a number of non-ministerial departments; these are headed by senior civil servants, but are linked to a ministerial department through whose ministers they are accountable to Parliament. Departments serve to implement the policies of Her Majesty's Government, regardless of the government's political composition; as a consequence, officials within government departments are required to adhere to varying levels of political impartiality and neutrality. There are two types of government departments. Ministerial departments are led politically by a government minister a member of the cabinet and cover matters that require direct political oversight.
For most departments, the government minister in question is known as a secretary of state. He or she is supported by a team of junior ministers; the administrative management of a department is led by a senior civil servant, known as a permanent secretary. Subordinate to these ministerial departments are executive agencies. An executive agency has a degree of autonomy to perform an operational function and report to one or more specific government departments, which will set the funding and strategic policy for the agency. At "arm's length" from a parent or sponsor department there can be a number of non-departmental public bodies, known colloquially as quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations. Non-ministerial departments cover matters for which direct political oversight is judged unnecessary or inappropriate, they are headed by senior civil servants. Some fulfil a regulatory or inspection function, their status is therefore intended to protect them from political interference; some are headed by Second Permanent Secretaries.
Charity Commission for England and Wales Competition and Markets Authority Crown Prosecution Service Food Standards Agency Forestry Commission Government Actuary's Department Government Legal Department Her Majesty's Land Registry Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs National Crime Agency National Savings and Investments Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills Office of Gas and Electricity Markets Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation Office of Rail and Road Ordnance Survey Serious Fraud Office Supreme Court of the United Kingdom The National Archives UK Statistics Authority UK Trade & Investment Water Services Regulation Authority Office of the Prime Minister Politics of the United Kingdom Cabinet Office - UK Government GOV. UK - widest range of government information and services online A list of all public bodies granted Crown copyright
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, domestically as Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, the House of Commons; the two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London. The House of Lords includes two different types of members: the Lords Spiritual, consisting of the most senior bishops of the Church of England, the Lords Temporal, consisting of life peers, appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, of 92 hereditary peers, sitting either by virtue of holding a royal office, or by being elected by their fellow hereditary peers.
Prior to the opening of the Supreme Court in October 2009, the House of Lords performed a judicial role through the Law Lords. The House of Commons is an elected chamber with elections to 650 single member constituencies held at least every five years under the first-past-the-post system; the two Houses meet in separate chambers in the Palace of Westminster in London. By constitutional convention, all government ministers, including the Prime Minister, are members of the House of Commons or, less the House of Lords and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature. Most cabinet ministers are from the Commons, whilst junior ministers can be from either House. However, the Leader of the House of Lords must be a peer; the Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Treaty of Union by Acts of Union passed by the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, both Acts of Union stating, "That the United Kingdom of Great Britain be represented by one and the same Parliament to be styled The Parliament of Great Britain".
At the start of the 19th century, Parliament was further enlarged by Acts of Union ratified by the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland that abolished the latter and added 100 Irish MPs and 32 Lords to the former to create the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 formally amended the name to the "Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", five years after the secession of the Irish Free State in 1922. With the global expansion of the British Empire, the UK Parliament has shaped the political systems of many countries as ex-colonies and so it has been called the "Mother of Parliaments". However, John Bright – who coined the epithet – used it in reference to the political culture of "England" rather than just the parliamentary system. In theory, the UK's supreme legislative power is vested in the Crown-in-Parliament. However, the Crown acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the powers of the House of Lords are limited to only delaying legislation.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created on 1 January 1801, by the merger of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland under the Acts of Union 1800. The principle of ministerial responsibility to the lower House did not develop until the 19th century—the House of Lords was superior to the House of Commons both in theory and in practice. Members of the House of Commons were elected in an antiquated electoral system, under which constituencies of vastly different sizes existed. Thus, the borough of Old Sarum, with seven voters, could elect two members, as could the borough of Dunwich, which had completely disappeared into the sea due to land erosion. Many small constituencies, known as pocket or rotten boroughs, were controlled by members of the House of Lords, who could ensure the election of their relatives or supporters. During the reforms of the 19th century, beginning with the Reform Act 1832, the electoral system for the House of Commons was progressively regularised.
No longer dependent on the Lords for their seats, MPs grew more assertive. The supremacy of the British House of Commons was reaffirmed in the early 20th century. In 1909, the Commons passed the so-called "People's Budget", which made numerous changes to the taxation system which were detrimental to wealthy landowners; the House of Lords, which consisted of powerful landowners, rejected the Budget. On the basis of the Budget's popularity and the Lords' consequent unpopularity, the Liberal Party narrowly won two general elections in 1910. Using the result as a mandate, the Liberal Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, introduced the Parliament Bill, which sought to restrict the powers of the House of Lords; when the Lords refused to pass the bill, Asquith countered with a promise extracted from the King in secret before the second general election of 1910 and requested the creation of several hundred Liberal peers, so as to erase the Conservative majority in the House of Lords. In the face of such a threat, the House of Lords narrowly passed the bill.
The Parliament Act 1911, as it became, prevented the Lords from blocking a money bill, allowed them to delay any other bill for a maximum of three sessions, after which it could become law over their objections. However, regardless of the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949, t
John Simon Bercow is a British politician, the Speaker of the House of Commons since June 2009. He concurrently serves as the Member of Parliament for Buckingham. Prior to his election to Speaker, he was a member of the Conservative Party. A former right-winger, he changed his views after becoming an MP and at one time was rumoured to be to defect to the Labour Party. Bercow's election to the Speaker's chair depended on the backing of other parties, was unpopular with many of his former Conservative Party colleagues, he served as a councillor from 1986 to 1990 and unsuccessfully contested parliamentary seats in the 1987 and 1992 general elections. In the 1997 general election, Bercow was elected the MP for Buckingham and promoted to the shadow cabinet in 2001, he held posts in the shadow cabinets of Iain Duncan Michael Howard. In November 2002, he resigned from the shadow cabinet over disputes concerning the Adoption and Children Act but returned under Howard in 2003. In September 2004, Bercow was dismissed after disagreements with Howard.
Following the resignation of Speaker Michael Martin, Bercow announced his intention to stand for the Speakership election on 22 June 2009 and was successful. He remained Speaker and was re-elected in his constituency at the general election on 7 May 2015, he was re-elected as Speaker, when the House sat at the start of the new parliament on 18 May 2015. Following the 2017 general election, Bercow was re-elected, again unopposed, as Speaker, on 13 June 2017, he is the first Speaker since the Second World War to be elected to the post three times. In October 2009, Bercow chaired the United Kingdom Youth Parliament's first annual sitting in the House of Commons, making them the only group except Members of Parliament to sit in the chamber, he has chaired every subsequent sitting and attended every annual conference and supporting Members of Youth Parliament from across the UK. In 2014, Bercow was appointed Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, in July 2017 he was appointed Chancellor of the University of Essex.
In October 2018, it was reported that Bercow intended to step down as Speaker in the summer of 2019, due to a report on the failure of high-level figures in Parliament to deal adequately with bullying of staff at Westminster and due to allegations of bullying made against him personally. However, it was reported that Bercow planned "to stay as speaker" until the end of parliament in 2022. Bercow was born in Edgware, the son of Brenda and Charles Bercow, a taxi driver, his father was born to his mother converted to Judaism. His paternal grandparents were Jews. Having settled in the UK, the family anglicised its surname from Berkowitz to Bercow. Bercow attended Frith Manor Primary School in Woodside Park, Finchley Manorhill, a large comprehensive school in North Finchley. In his youth, Bercow had been ranked Britain's No. 1 junior tennis player, but came down with bronchial asthma and was unable to pursue a professional career. Bercow graduated with a first-class honours degree in government from the University of Essex in 1985.
Professor Anthony King said "When he was a student here, he was right-wing, pretty stroppy, good. He was an outstanding student."As a young activist, Bercow was a member of the right-wing Conservative Monday Club. He stood as a candidate for the club's national executive in 1981 with a manifesto calling for a programme of "assisted repatriation" of immigrants, became secretary of its immigration and repatriation committee. However, at the age of 20 he left the club, citing the views of many of the club's members as his reason, has since called his participation in the club "utter madness" and dismissed his views from that period as "bone headed". After graduating from the University of Essex, Bercow was elected as the last national chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students, 1986–87; the FCS was broken up by the chairman of the Conservative Party, Norman Tebbit, after one of its members had accused previous Tory PM Harold Macmillan of war crimes in extraditing Cossacks to the Soviet Union.
Bercow attracted the attention of the Conservative leadership, in 1987 he was appointed by Tebbit as vice-chairman of the Conservative Collegiate Forum to head the campaign for student support in the run-up to the 1987 general election. After a spell in merchant banking, Bercow joined the lobbying firm Rowland Sallingbury Casey in 1988, becoming a board director within five years. With fellow Conservative Julian Lewis, Bercow ran an advanced speaking and campaigning course for over 10 years, which trained over 600 Conservatives in campaigning and communication techniques, he has lectured in the United States to students of the Leadership Institute. In 1986, Bercow was elected as a Conservative councillor in the London Borough of Lambeth, served for four years representing the Streatham, St Leonard's ward. In 1987, he was appointed the youngest deputy group leader in the United Kingdom. In 1995, Bercow was appointed as a special adviser to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Jonathan Aitken.
After Aitken's resignation to fight a libel action, Bercow served as a special adviser to the Secretary of State for National Heritage, Virginia Bottomley. Bercow was an unsuccessful Conservative candidate in the 1987 general election in Motherwell South, again at the 1992 general election in Bristol South. In 1996 he paid £1,000 to charter a helicopter so that he could attend the selection meetings for two safe Conservative parliamentary seats on the same day – Buckingham and Surrey Heath –
The Lord Speaker is the speaker of the House of Lords in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The office is analogous to the Speaker of the House of Commons: the Lord Speaker is elected by the members of the House of Lords and is expected to be politically impartial; until July 2006, the role of presiding officer in the House of Lords was undertaken by the Lord Chancellor. Under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, the position of the Speaker of the House of Lords became a separate office, allowing the position to be held by someone other than the Lord Chancellor; the Lord Chancellor continued to act as speaker of the House of Lords in an interim period after the Act was passed while the House of Lords considered new arrangements about its speakership. The current Lord Speaker is Lord Fowler. In 2003, following the decision to disaggregate the roles performed by the Lord Chancellor, a Select Committee of the House of Lords looked into the proposed new office of its presiding officer, including the title for the elected speaker of the Lords.
Following their recommendations, the new speaker was named "Lord Speaker", the number of deputy speakers has fallen from 25 to twelve. "Lord Speaker" was chosen in part because it was in use in the Standing Orders and the Companion. The main functions of the Lord Speaker are to take the chair in debates held in the chamber of the House of Lords, to advise the House of Lords on procedural rules, to take formal responsibility for security in the areas of the Palace of Westminster occupied by the House of Lords and its members, to speak for the House of Lords on ceremonial occasions, to represent the House of Lords as its ambassador in the UK and overseas; the role has less power than the Speaker of the House of Commons. The House of Lords is self-governing, its presiding officer has traditionally taken a less active role in debates than the Speaker of the House of Commons. For example, unlike the Speaker, the Lord Speaker does not call the House to order, determine, to speak when two individuals rise at the same time, rule on points of order, discipline members who violate the rules of the House, or select amendments to bills—all these functions are performed by the House of Lords as a whole.
Furthermore, whilst speeches in the House of Commons are addressed directly to the Speaker, those in the House of Lords are addressed to the House as a whole. In practice, the only task of the Lord Speaker in the Chamber is to formally put the question before a vote, to announce the result of any vote, to make certain announcements to the House. Furthermore, the Lord Speaker may end the adjournment of the House during a public emergency; the Lord Speaker has assumed most of the duties that the Lord Chancellor used to have in relation to his parliamentary role. When peers debated the creation of the office, there was debate as to whether the new speaker should have additional powers and responsibilities that the Lord Chancellor does not have resolved in the negative; the debate was renewed with proposals put forward by a Leader's Group led by Alastair Goodlad. The proposals include allowing the Lord Speaker, during Question Time and ministerial statements, to take on the role of advising the House which party should speak next when there is a dispute.
The Leader of the House of Lords, a Government minister handles this task. The decision of who should speak would remain with the House. A similar proposal was made by the committee that discussed the new office. A further option would allow the Speaker more power during Question Time, but it was not recommended by the Leader's Group; the Group's report has yet to be approved. Like the Speaker of the House of Commons, but unlike the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Speaker is expected to remain non-partisan whilst in office. On election, the Lord Speaker resigns the party whip or crossbench group and certain outside interests to concentrate on being an impartial presiding officer; the Lord Speaker is elected for a maximum term of five years, may serve a maximum of two terms. The election is conducted using the Alternative Vote method. Under amendments made on 3 May 2011, elections must be held by 15 July of final year of a term, with the new term beginning on 1 September; when Helene Hayman, Baroness Hayman was elected the first Lord Speaker, the Clerk of the Parliaments announced the result, the Lord Chamberlain announced the Queen's confirmation of the choice.
Lord Speaker thus elected replaced the Lord Chancellor on the Woolsack. By Royal Warrant on 4 July 2006, the Queen declared that the Lord Speaker would have rank and precedence after the Speaker of the House of Commons; the Lord Speaker earns a salary of £101,038, less than the Speaker of the House of Commons. The Lord Speaker, like the Speaker of the House of Commons, is entitled to a grace and favour apartment in the Parliamentary Estate. Like the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Speaker wears court dress with a plain black silk gown while presiding over the House and a black silk damask and gold lace ceremonial gown on state occasions. To date holders of the office have chosen not to wear a wig, as the Lord Chancellor did, though they do have the option; when presiding over debates, the Lord Speaker sits on the Woolsack. Before each day's sitting of the House of Lords, the Lord Speaker forms part of
Erskine May: Parliamentary Practice
Erskine May is a parliamentary authority written by British constitutional theorist and Clerk of the House of Commons, Thomas Erskine May. Erskine May is considered to be the most authoritative and influential work on parliamentary procedure and the constitutional conventions affecting Parliament which form a major part of the uncodified UK constitution, it is not a rigid set of rules but a description of how the procedure evolved and of the conventions. Such is the authority of the text that it is regarded as analogous to part of the constitution itself. Since its first publication in 1844, the book has been updated. Erskine May edited nine editions of the book in his lifetime. Updates have continued into the present day; the Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy recommended in 2015 that "Erskine May, the definitive guide to parliamentary procedure, should be available online by the time the next edition is produced."The work has been influential outside the United Kingdom in countries that use the Westminster system.
Book I: Constitution and Privileges of Parliament. Chapter I: Preliminary view of the constituent parts of Parliament: The Crown, The Lords Spiritual and Temporal, the Knights and Burgesses. Chapter II: Power and Jurisdiction of Parliament collectively. Rights and Power of each of its constituent parts. Chapter III: General view of the Privileges of Parliament: Power of commitment by both Houses for Breaches of Privilege. Causes of commitment cannot be inquired into by Courts of Law. Acts construed as Breaches of Privilege. Different punishments inflicted by the two Houses. Chapter IV: Privilege of Freedom of Speech confirmed by the ancient law of Parliament and by statute: its nature and limits. Chapter V: Freedom from Arrest or Molestation: its antiquity. Privilege of not being impleaded in civil actions: of not being liable to be summoned by subpoena or to serve on juries. Commitment of Members by Courts of Justice. Privilege of witnesses and others in attendance on Parliament. Chapter VI: Jurisdiction of Courts of Law in matters of Privilege.
Book II: Practice and Proceedings in Parliament. Chapter VII: Introductory remarks. Meeting of a new Parliament. Election and Royal Approbation of the Speaker of the Commons. Oaths. Queen's Speech, Addresses in answer. Places of Peers and Members of the House of Commons. Attendance on the service of Parliament. Office of Speaker in both Houses. Principal Officers. Journals. Admission of Strangers. Prorogation. Chapter VIII: Motions and Questions. Notices of Motions. Questions seconded. Motions withdrawn. Questions superseded by Adjournment. Previous Questions. New Questions substituted by Amendment. Complicated Questions. Questions put. Chapter IX: Amendments to Questions. Chapter X: The same Question or Bill may not be twice offered in a Session. Chapter XI: Rules of Debate: Manner and time of speaking: Rules and orders to be observed by Members in speaking, in attending to Debates. Chapter XII: Divisions. Mode of dividing in both Houses. Proxies and Pairs. Protests. Members interested. Chapter XIII: Committees of the whole House: General rules of proceeding: Chairman: Motions and Debate: House resumed.
Chapter XIV: Appointment, Constitution and Proceedings of Select Committees in both Houses. Chapter XV: Witnesses: Modes of Summons and Examination: Administration of Oaths: Expenses. Chapter XVI: Communications between the Lords and Commons: Messages and Conferences: Joint Committees, Committees communicating with each other. Chapter XVII: Communications from the Crown to Parliament: Their forms and character: How acknowledged: Addresses to the Crown: Messages to Members of the Royal Family. Chapter XVIII: Proceedings of Parliament in passing Public Bills. Royal Assent. Chapter XIX: Ancient mode of petitioning Parliament: Form and character of modern Petitions: Practice of both Houses in receiving them. Chapter XX: Accounts and Records presented to Parliament: Printing and distribution of them: Arrangement and statistical value of Parliamentary Returns. Chapter XXI: Progressive influence of the Commons in granting Supplies, imposing Burthens upon the People. Exclusion of the Lords from the right of amending Money Bills.
Constitutional functions of the Crown and of the Commons, in matters of Supply. Modern practice in voting Money and imposing Pecuniary Burthens. Committees of Supply and Ways and Means. Chapter XXII: Issue of Writs, Trial of Controverted Elections by the House of Commons. Chapter XXIII: Impeachment by the Commons. Trial of Peers. Bills of Attainder and of Pains and Penalties. Book III: The Manner of passing Private Bills. Chapter XXIV: Distinctive character of Private Bills: preliminary view of the proceedings of Parliament in passing them. Chapter XXV: Conditions to be observed by parties before Private Bills are introduced into Parliament: Notices and deposit of plans, &c.: Estimates and subscription contracts. Chapter XXVI: Course of proceedings upon Private Bills introduced into the House of Commons.
English law is the common law legal system of England and Wales, comprising criminal law and civil law, each branch having its own courts and procedures. England's most authoritative law is statutory legislation, which comprises Acts of Parliament, regulations and by-laws. In the absence of any statutory law, the common law with its principle of stare decisis forms the residual source of law, based on judicial decisions and usage. Common law is made by sitting judges who apply both statutory law and established principles which are derived from the reasoning from earlier decisions. Equity is the other historic source of judge-made law. Common law can be repealed by Parliament. Not being a civil law system, English law has no comprehensive codification. However, most of its criminal law has been codified from its common law origins, in the interests both of certainty and of ease of prosecution. For the time being, murder remains a common law crime rather than a statutory offence. Although Scotland and Northern Ireland form part of the United Kingdom and share Westminster as a primary legislature, they have separate legal systems outside of English Law.
International treaties such as the European Union's Treaty of Rome or the Hague-Visby Rules have effect in English law only when adopted and ratified by Act of Parliament. Adopted treaties may be subsequently denounced by executive action.. Unless the denouncement or withdraw would affect rights enacted by parliament. In this case executive action cannot be used due to the doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty; this principle was established in the case of Miller v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union in 2017. Criminal law is the law of punishment whereby the Crown prosecutes the accused. Civil law is concerned with tort, families, companies and so on. Civil law courts operate to provide a party who has an enforceable claim with a remedy such as damages or a declaration. In this context, civil law is the system of codified law, prevalent in Europe. Civil law is founded on the ideas of Roman Law. By contrast, English law is the archetypal common law jurisdiction, built upon case law.
In this context, common law means the judge-made law of the King's Bench. Equity is concerned with trusts and equitable remedies. Equity operates in accordance with the principles known as the "maxims of equity"; the reforming Judicature Acts of the 1880s amalgamated the courts into one Supreme Court of Judicature, directed to administer both law and equity. The neo-gothic Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand, were built shortly afterwards to celebrate these reforms. Public Law is the law governing relationships between the state. Private law encompasses relationships between other private entities. A remedy is "the means given by law for the recovery of a right, or of compensation for its infringement". Most remedies are available only from the court. Most civil actions claiming damages in the High Court were commenced by obtaining a writ issued in the Queen's name. After 1979, writs have required the parties to appear, writs are no longer issued in the name of the Crown. Now, after the Woolf Reforms of 1999 all civil actions other than those connected with insolvency, are commenced by the completion of a Claim Form as opposed to a Writ, Originating Application, or Summons.
In England, there is a hierarchy of sources, as follows: Legislation The case law rules of common law and equity, derived from precedent decisions Parliamentary conventions General Customs Books of authority Primary legislation in the UK may take the following forms: Acts of Parliament Acts of the Scottish Parliament Acts and Measures of the National Assembly for Wales Statutory Rules of the Northern Ireland AssemblyOrders in Council are a sui generis category of legislation. Secondary legislation in England includes: Statutory Instruments and Ministerial Orders Bye-laws of metropolitan boroughs, county councils, town councilsStatutes are cited in this fashion: "Short Title Year", e.g. Theft Act 1968; this became the usual way to refer to Acts from 1840 onwards. For example, the Pleading in English Act 1362 was referred to as 36 Edw. III c. 15, meaning "36th year of the reign of Edward III, chapter 15".. Common law is a term with historical origins in the legal system of England, it denotes, in the first place, the judge-made law that developed from the early Middle Ages as described in a work published at the end of the 19th century, The History of English Law before the Time of Edward I, in which Pollock and Maitland expanded the work of Coke and Blackstone.
The law developed in England's Court of Common Pleas and other common law courts, which became the law of the colonies settled under the crown of England or of the United Kingdom, in North America and elsewhere.
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor and Under-Treasurer of Her Majesty's Exchequer known as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or the Chancellor, is a senior official within the Government of the United Kingdom and head of Her Majesty's Treasury. The office is a British Cabinet-level position; the chancellor is responsible for all economic and financial matters, equivalent to the role of finance minister in other nations. The position is considered one of the four Great Offices of State, in recent times has come to be the most powerful office in British politics after the prime minister; 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 18th and early 19th centuries, it was common for the prime minister to serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer if he sat in the Commons. In cases when the chancellorship was vacant, the Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench would act as Chancellor pro tempore; 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 British history. The earliest surviving records which are the results of the exchequer's audit, date from 1129–30 under King Henry I and show continuity from previous years; 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 has oversight of public spending across Government departments; the holder of the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer is ex officio Second Lord of the Treasury as a member of the commission exercising the ancient office of Lord High Treasurer. As the Second Lord, his official residence is 11 Downing Street in London, next door to the residence of the First Lord of the Treasury, 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 an apartment made from attic rooms resided in by servants. Since 1827, the chancellor has always held the office of Second Lord of the Treasury when that person has not been the prime minister.
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 as he can." 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 within 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; as a result, Tony Blair chose to keep him in the same position throughout his ten years as prime minister. This has strengthened a pre-existing trend towards the Chancellor occupying a clear second position among government ministers, elevated above his traditional peers, the Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary.
One part of the Chancellor's key roles involves the framing of the annual year budget. As of 2017, the first is the Autumn Budget known as Budget Day which forecasts government spending in the next financial year and announces new financial measures; the second is a Spring Statement known as a "mini-Budget". Britain's tax year has retained the old Julian end of year: 24 March / 5 April. From 1993, the Budget was in spring, preceded by an annual autumn statement; this was called Pre-Budget Report. The Autumn Statement took place in November or December; the 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2016 budgets were all delivered on a Wednesday, summarised in a speech to the House of Commons. The budget is a state secret. Hugh Dalton, on his way to giving the budget speech in 1947, inadvertently blurted out key details to a newspaper reporter, they appeared in print before he made his speech. Dalton was forced to resign. Although the Bank of England is responsible for setting interest rates, the chancellor plays an important part in the monetary policy structure.
He sets the inflation target. 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 has a high level of influence over the appointment of the Bank's Governor and Deputy Governors, has the right of consultation over the appointment of the two remaining MPC members from within the Bank. The Act 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. 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