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HM Treasury – the UK’s economics and finance ministry – played a crucial role in the government’s response to the Covid pandemic. While the crisis was fundamentally one of public health, shutting down the country saw the government pay the wages of around a third of the workforce and spend billions supporting businesses.
So how successful were the Treasury’s policies and how well did it work with the rest of government? What lessons should the Treasury learn from its pandemic response? How can the department be better prepared to handle future crises? And what can be done to improve how the Treasury operates in normal times?
This event presented and discussed the findings of a new report from the Institute for Government which examines how the Treasury implemented labour market and business finance support schemes, delivered an unprecedented amount of support to the country at incredible speed and under huge uncertainty, and worked with other government departments during the crisis.
To explore these questions, the IfG brought together an expert panel including:
- Rushanara Ali MP, Member of the Treasury Select Committee
- Olly Bartrum, Senior Economist at the Institute for Government
- Prof Sir Charles Bean, former member of the Budget Responsibility Committee at the Office for Budget Responsibility (2017–21)
- Tracey Brown, Director of Sense about Science
- Sir Charles Roxburgh, former Second Permanent Secretary of HM Treasury (2016–22)
The event was chaired by Dr Gemma Tetlow, Chief Economist at the Institute for Government.