Treasury faces accounts qualification

The Treasury’s accounts could be qualified by the NAO,
Times reports today

In what would certainly prove one of the more humiliating episodes in
government accounting in recent history, the paper reports that concerns over
the status of Northern Rock have led the audit office to consider refusing to
sign off the Treasury’s numbers.

The Treasury is responsible for government accounting policy as a whole, with
the head of government accounting, Jon Thompson, working there.

The accounts have been delayed, the paper said this morning. The annual
report from Number 11 was published but, in a departure from convention, the
department’s resource accounts did not appear alongside.

A Treasury spokesman denied the NAO had threatened to qualify the accounts,
the paper said. ‘We are working very closely with the NAO to ensure the issues
that arise as a result of Northern Rock are properly dealt with in our accounts
but we still intend to publish them before the summer recess.’

Tory MP Michael Fallon was quoted saying: ‘This is a fresh humiliation for
Alistair Darling. He has lost control over public finances. Now it looks as if
he can’t get his department’s books past the auditors.’

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