The interwar period posed unprecedented challenges to the English government. Unemployment, poverty, and fiscal crisis dogged policy-makers throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Governmental efforts to deal with the social and economic dislocation caused by the world-wide, post-war depression did not meet with much success. Opinion, both popular and scholarly, has tended to judge the government's domestic record rather harshly. The growing range of government activity overseen by an increasingly homogeneous civil service centralized under the direction of the Treasury has engendered some suspicion about the role of official advice in formulating policies widely regarded as, at best, ineffective and, at worst, wrong-headed and even oppressive. The Ministry of Health seemed more concerned to stem the demands on the Exchequer than to ameliorate living conditions among the poor. The Ministry of Labour, engulfed by the administrative nightmare of unemployment insurance, could not also devise programs to reduce the rate of unemployment. The Treasury not only failed to produce any innovative strategy for the country's fiscal problems, their insistence on reducing government expenditure and maintaining a balanced budget—the so-called “Treasury view”—hung like a millstone around the necks of the spending departments. Even if officials had pressed aggressive and creative programs of social welfare upon political leaders, the Treasury obsession with what we now call the “bottom line” would have effectively denied them the resources necessary to implement any new program.