Taking Stock – Mysteries of Treasury are impossible to solve.

Like the pyramids, the mysteries of the Treasury are not easily explained. Any attempt to dissect the language of mandarins usually proves futile – a tongue rarely used outside of Whitehall and one designed to obscure not illuminate.

But perhaps this reputation, which usually prompts MPs to describe Yes Minister as a documentary, not a sitcom, is undeserved.

TS hears from an ex-government minister that former permanent secretary to the Treasury, Sir Terry Burns, was once able to cut to the quick when describing just what it was like to run the department.

‘It is rather like driving an old but very serviceable car,’ said Sir Terry, who retired just a year after the arrival of Gordon Brown as his boss. ‘The windscreen is cracked and the rear view mirror is blacked out. So you don’t know where you are going and only have a hazy idea of where you have been.’

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