Both terms refer to collecting tax revenue, right? What's the difference then? I hoped the relevant Wiki pages would help but they didn't.


2 Answers 2


Collection of tax revenue in the UK is the responsibility of neither of those but of HM Revenue & Customs which has the status of a non-ministerial department.

HM Treasury is the UK's economic and finance ministry. Its responsibilities include advice to ministers on taxation policy and government expenditure. Confusingly, perhaps, the most senior minister at HM Treasury is known as the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

HM Exchequer is not a UK government department but a rather old-fashioned name for the Government's account into which is paid money from taxation and other sources and from which government expenditure is paid. The account is more commonly known as the Consolidated Fund.

  • $\begingroup$ So, HM Treasury (the British equivalent for the US Department of the Treasury) decides how to spend the money in HM Exchequer (which is just a fancy name for UK state budget), right? $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2020 at 3:17
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    $\begingroup$ @SergeyZolotarev Yes, although the really big spending decisions need approval by the Cabinet, with HM Treasury providing advice, and some of the detailed decisions are taken by other government departments within budgets agreed with the Treasury. Slightly nit-picking, perhaps, I would say HM Exchequer is an account, whereas the governmen's budget is a plan for raising and spending the money in that account. $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2020 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ So HM Treasury doesn't decide anything, just provides advice, does it? $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2020 at 22:55
  • $\begingroup$ @SergeyZolotarev HM Treasury does take decisions, it's just that some decisions, because of their importance or nature, are taken elsewhere. And note also that it does much else that primarily is neither advice nor decision-making, eg implementing economic and financial policies, and ensuring that other government departments keep within their budgets. $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2020 at 23:48

Treasury is a place where the money collected is kept. Exchequer is the treasure itself. So, it is apt to say that exchequer is kept in a place called treasury.


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