Her Majesty's Paymaster General or HM Paymaster General is a ministerial position in the
The Cabinet Office is a department
Department may refer to:
* Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific responsibility
Government and military
*Department (country subdivision), a geographical and admin ...
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...
. The incumbent Paymaster General is Michael Ellis
The post was created in 1836 by the merger of the positions of the offices of the
Paymaster of the Forces
The Paymaster of the Forces was a position in the British government. The office was established in 1661, one year after the Restoration (1660), Restoration of the Monarchy to King Charles II, and was responsible for part of the financing of the ...
Treasurer of the Navy
The Treasurer of the Navy, originally called Treasurer of Marine Causes or Paymaster of the Navy, was a civilian officer of the Royal Navy
The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare
Naval warfare is combat
Combat ( Fr ...
(1546–1835), the Paymaster and Treasurer of
The Royal Hospital Chelsea is a retirement home and nursing home for some 300 veterans of the British Army. Founded as an almshouse, the ancient sense of the word "hospital", it is a site located on Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea, London, Che ...
(responsible for Army pensions
) (1681–1835) and the
Treasurer of the Ordnance
The Treasurer of the Ordnance was a subordinate of the Master-General of the Ordnance in the United Kingdom, the office being created in 1670. The office was abolished in 1836 and its duties merged with that of several others to form the office of ...
Initially, the Paymaster General only had responsibilities in relation to the
A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare
War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...
but in 1848 two more offices were merged into that of Paymaster General: the Paymaster of Exchequer Bills (1723–1848) and the Paymaster of the Civil Service (1834–1848), the latter followed by its Irish counterpart in 1861. They thus became 'the principal paying agent of the government and the banker for all government departments except the revenue departments
In public finance
Public finance is the study of the role of the government
A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state
State may refer to:
Arts, entertainment, and me ...
From 1848 to 1868, the post was held concurrently with that of
Vice-President of the Board of Trade
The office of Deputy President of the Board of Trade, previously Vice-President of the Board of Trade, is a junior ministerial position in the government of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, comm ...
The longest-serving holder of the post was
Dawn Primarolo, Baroness Primarolo, (born 2 May 1954) is a British Labour Party (UK), Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament for Bristol South (UK Parliament constituency), Bristol South ...
, whose portfolio covered
HM Revenue and Customs
, type = Non-ministerial government department
Non-ministerial government departments (NMGDs) are a type of Departments of the Government of the United Kingdom, department of the Government of the United Kingdom that deal with matters for whic ...
The Inland Revenue was, until April 2005, a Departments of the United Kingdom Government, department of the British Government responsible for the collection of direct taxation, including income tax, national insurance, national insurance co ...
HM Customs and Excise
HM Customs and Excise (properly known as Her Majesty's Customs and Excise (or His as appropriate), often abbreviated to HMCE) was a department of the British Government
The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as ...
), and who served from 1999 to 2007.
Today, the Paymaster General is usually a
minister without portfolio
A minister without portfolio is either a government minister
A minister is a politician who heads a ministry (government department), ministry, making and implementing decisions on policies in conjunction with the other ministers. In some juris ...
available for any duties which the government of the day may designate. The post may be combined with another office, or may be left unfilled.
Though the Paymaster General was titular head of the Paymaster General's Office, their executive functions were delegated to the Assistant Paymaster General, a permanent
The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leader ...
who (though acting in the name of the Paymaster General) was answerable to the
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to the chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and the chief executive officer of HM Treasury, Her Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Grea ...
Office of HM Paymaster General
The Paymaster General was formerly in nominal charge (and at one time in actual charge) of the Office of HM Paymaster General (OPG), which held accounts at the
Bank of England
The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694 to act as the Kingdom of England, English Government's banker, and still one of the bankers for t ...
on behalf of government departments and selected other public bodies. Funds which were made available from the
In many states with political systems derived from the Westminster system
The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary
A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic
Democrat, Democ ...
were then channelled into OPG accounts, from where they were used by the relevant body. OPG operated a full range of accounts and banking transaction services, including cheque and credit,
Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), previously known as Bankers' Automated Clearing System, is the organization that is responsible for the schemes behind the clearing and settlement of UK automated payment methods and Bacs Direct Credit, as ...
The Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS) is real-time gross settlement Real-time gross settlement (RTGS) systems are specialist Electronic funds transfer, funds transfer systems where the transfer of money or securities takes place from ...
services for its customers via an electronic banking system. Integration of OPG accounts held with commercial banks was provided by the private company Xafinity Paymaster which is now part of the Equiniti
However, in 2008, the government announced that the Office of the Paymaster General would be incorporated into a new body, the Government Banking Service, which also provides banking operations for
HM Revenue & Customs
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HM Revenue and Customs or HMRC) is a non-ministerial government department, non-ministerial Departments of the United Kingdom Government, department of the Her Majesty's Government, UK Government responsible fo ...
National Savings and Investments
National Savings and Investments (NS&I), formerly called the Post Office Savings Bank and National Savings, is a state-owned savings bank in the United Kingdom. It is both a non-ministerial government department and an executive agency of HM Treasu ...
. Following the Bank of England's decision to withdraw from providing retail banking services, retail banking and payment services for the GBS are provided by a range of financial institutions including
Barclays plc () is a British multinational Investment banking, investment bank and financial services company, headquartered in London, England. Apart from investment banking, Barclays is organised into four core businesses: Retail banking, pe ...
Citibank is the consumer division of financial services
Financial services are the economic services provided by the finance
Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financial sys ...
National Westminster Bank, commonly known as NatWest, is a major retail
Retail is the sale of goods
Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (eco ...
and Worldpay, Inc., Worldpay, although the Bank of England still plays a role in managing the government's higher level accounts.
List of paymasters general
*Henry Parnell, Sir Henry Parnell, Bt. 1836–1841
*Edward Stanley, 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley, Edward Stanley 1841
*Sir Edward Knatchbull, 9th Baronet, Sir Edward Knatchbull, Bt. 1841–1845
*Bingham Baring 1845–1846
*Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, Thomas Babington Macaulay 1846–1848
*Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville 1848–1852
*Edward Stanley, 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley 1852
*Charles Abbot, 2nd Baron Colchester 1852
*Edward Stanley, 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley 1853–1855
*Edward Pleydell-Bouverie 1855
*Robert Lowe 1855–1858
*Richard Hely-Hutchinson, 4th Earl of Donoughmore 1858–1859
*Algernon Percy, 6th Duke of Northumberland, Algernon Percy, Lord Lovaine 1859
*James Wilson (businessman), James Wilson 1859
*William Cowper-Temple, 1st Baron Mount Temple, William Cowper 1859–1860
*William Hutt (politician), William Hutt 1860–1865
*George Goschen, 1st Viscount Goschen, George Goschen 1865–1866
*William Monsell 1866
*Stephen Cave 1866–1868
*Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Earl of Dufferin 1868–1872
*Hugh Childers 1872–1873
*William Patrick Adam, William Adam 1873–1874
*Stephen Cave 1874–1880
*David Plunket 1880
*George Glyn, 2nd Baron Wolverton 1880–1885
*Frederick Lygon, 6th Earl Beauchamp 1885–1886
*Thomas Hovell-Thurlow-Cumming-Bruce, 5th Baron Thurlow 1886
*Frederick Lygon, 6th Earl Beauchamp 1886–1887
*Adelbert Brownlow-Cust, 3rd Earl Brownlow 1887–1889
*Victor Child Villiers, 7th Earl of Jersey 1889–1890
*Robert Windsor-Clive, 1st Earl of Plymouth, Robert Windsor-Clive, 14th Baron Windsor 1890–1892
*Charles Seale-Hayne 1892–1895
*John Hope, 7th Earl of Hopetoun 1895–1899
*Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough 1899–1902
*Savile Crossley 1902–1905
*Richard Causton, 1st Baron Southwark, Richard Causton (1st Baron Southwark after 13 July 1910) 1905–1910
*Ivor Guest, 1st Baron Ashby St Ledgers 1910–1912
*Edward Strachey, 1st Baron Strachie 1912–1915
*Thomas Legh, 2nd Baron Newton 1915–1916
*Arthur Henderson 1916
*Joseph Compton-Rickett 1916–1919
*Tudor Walters 1919–1922
*''Office vacant'' 1922–1923
*Neville Chamberlain 1923
*William Joynson-Hicks 1923
*Archibald Boyd-Carpenter 1923–1924
*Harry Gosling 1924
*''Office vacant'' 1924–1925
*George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 5th Duke of Sutherland 1925–1928
*Richard Onslow, 5th Earl of Onslow 1928–1929
*Sydney Arnold 1929–1931
*''Office vacant'' 1931
*Tudor Walters 1931
*Ernest Lamb, 1st Baron Rochester 1931–1935
*Robert Hutchison, 1st Baron Hutchison of Montrose 1935–1938
*Geoffrey FitzClarence, 5th Earl of Munster 1938–1939
*Edward Turnour, 6th Earl Winterton 1939
*''Office vacant'' 1939–1940
*Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Viscount Cranborne 1940
*''Office vacant'' 1940–1941
*Maurice Hankey 1941–1942
*William Jowitt 1942
*Frederick Lindemann, 1st Baron Cherwell 1942–1945
*''Office vacant'' 1945–1946
*Arthur Greenwood 9 July 1946 Lab
*Hilary Marquand 5 March 1947 Lab
*Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison, The Viscount Addison 2 July 1948 also Leader of the House of Lords Lab
*Gordon Macdonald, 1st Baron Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, The Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor 1 April 1949 Lab
List of shadow paymasters general
External linksOffice of the Paymaster General
– archived version, as of June 2008. Since then the OPG website redirects to the new GBS site:
United Kingdom Paymasters General
Ministerial offices in the United Kingdom
1836 establishments in the United Kingdom