chapter  3
10 Pages


It also remained true that the Treasury’s basic theses were generally accepted by other government departments and politicians and were buttressed by much public and parliamentary support. The Treasury were not acting in defiance of the consensus. This was particularly true in the crisis years of 1921-22 and 193132 when the government was subjected to determined anti-waste campaigns. Reductions in government expenditure were demanded. The two Committees on National Expenditure under Geddes and May which resulted commanded a wide spectrum of parliamentary approval and inevitably strengthened the Treasury’s hand. To this must be added the Treasury’s prestige as a government department. Their authority, partially diminished in the necessary spending spree of the First World War, was restored after the war and confirmed by the appointment in 1919 of the Treasury’s permanent secretary as head of the civil service.46 The views of the Treasury and the Chancellor usually commanded the consent of other ministers. As we have seen, whenever the Chancellor insisted in cabinet on resisting the wishes of the Secretary of State for the Colonies he was always successful. Thus the Treasury obtained their desired administrative arrangements for expenditure under the Trade Facilities Act, the East Africa Loans Act and the Colonial Development Act. In brief, the Treasury’s opposition and the continued widespread approval for orthodox budgetary policy acted as further restraints on the extent of Imperial government expenditure on colonial development up to 1940.