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Palgrave Macmillan

Policy-Making in the Treasury

Explaining Britain's Chosen Path on European Economic and Monetary Union.

ISBN 9781137337030
Publication Date January 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

The arrival of European economic and monetary union (EMU) has been one of the biggest and most controversial issues that has confronted British politics in recent memory. Successive British governments from Callaghan to Blair and Conservative Prime Ministers in between have chosen a path that has placed Britain as the 'awkward partner' in Europe, and have often been accused of bending under the pressure of Euroscepticism either in their parties or the wider public. Through official government papers and interviews with former ministers and officials, this book goes behind the doors of the Treasury and Number 10 and reveals that policies were not shaped by Euroscepticism but rather primarily by repeated and methodical Treasury-led cost-benefit analysis of the EMU option. Furthermore, the findings of this book have real significance for our wider understanding of both the machinery of British government and the drivers of its relationship with Europe over recent decades.

Matthew Smith was born in Worcestershire and now lives in North London, UK. In between, he obtained his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from Birmingham, and his PhD in Manchester. Having worked in central government at Westminster for more than a decade, he is now based in the City.

1. Introduction
2. Whitehall, the Treasury and Policy-making
3. The Callaghan Government and the ERM
4. The Thatcher Government and the ERM
5. The Thatcher Government and the ERM con/d
6. The Major Government and EMU at Maastricht
7. The Major Government and EMU at Maastricht con/d
8. The Blair Government and the Single Currency
9. The Blair Government and the Single Currency con/d
10. Conclusions


'This book challenges three decades of conventional political wisdom that government policy on the EU has been a series of lurches in the face of revolts or short-term crises. This book turns such assumptions on their head by revealing where policy development – and power – really lay throughout: in the Treasury. Unprecedented access to former ministers, officials and government papers, and all shrewdly analysed and engagingly written, has meant that Matthew Smith has achieved something unique: an account of what really went on behind the scenes at the heart of British government.'—Sam Coates, Deputy Political Editor, The Times, UK
This book will be of serious interest to all students, analysts and indeed anyone with an interest in British politics. It is underpinned by research based upon unique access to senior politicians and civil servants, as well as a range of key documents, and makes a considerable contribution to our knowledge and understanding of the machinery of government, and the functioning of the Treasury in relation to a pivotal policy issue.—Robert Pyper, Head of School of Social Sciences and Professor of Government and Public Policy, University of the West of Scotland, UK
Matthew Smith provides a fascinating and immensely valuable account of what was going on in the Treasury while the political debates raged round and about over Britain's participation in Europe's moves towards monetary union. By showing the changing importance of Treasury analysis in the development of some of the most sensitive decisions taken by governments in recent years, Smith also advances considerably our understanding of the role of the civil service in policy making in Britain.—Edward Page, Sidney and Beatrice Webb Professor of Public Policy, Department of Government, London School of Economics, UK
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