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The Treasury and British Public Policy, 1906–1959$
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G. C. Peden

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207078

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207078.001.0001

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Liberal Finance and Social Reform, 1906–1914

Liberal Finance and Social Reform, 1906–1914

(p.30) Chapter Two Liberal Finance and Social Reform, 1906–1914
The Treasury and British Public Policy, 1906–1959

G. C. Peden

Oxford University Press

The Treasury was the department that, more than any other, was at the centre of Edwardian political controversy. Particularly under Lloyd George, the Treasury had to adapt itself to more active participation by central government in the relief of poverty and had to begin to act like a central department of government, seeking value for money, while at the same time holding firmly to the canons of public finance. With regards to public finance, the principal difference between the Conservative and Liberal parties in general elections was the question of how defence expenditure and social reform were to be paid for. From 1903 the orthodoxy of free trade was challenged by a tariff reform campaign, led initially by Joseph Chamberlain, who recommended that Britain should return to a policy of protection. The Liberals sought to avoid a need to raise revenue from tariffs, first by economies in defence expenditure, and then by raising direct taxation on the more affluent members of society.

Keywords:   Britain, public finance, social reform, Liberals, defence expenditure, free trade, tariffs, taxation, Treasury

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