The Limited Liability Partnership Bill will not now surface until the Queen’s Speech in October after it failed to win support at a crucial meeting of cabinet ministers.
The DTI is believed to have had second thoughts over restricting LLP to professional firms and is now reviewing the draft legislation. In a double blow to the profession, insolvency legislation was also dropped at the meeting, as predicted by Accountancy Age last week.
ACCA business law committee secretary John Davies is writing to the DTI this week to demand clarification on the issue and the restoration of the LLP Bill to its position at the forefront of its legislative programme.
But Davies is unconvinced the Bill will receive urgent attention.
He said: ‘The draft Bill came out in September with a very restrictive consultation period which indicated the government wanted to go ahead with it, but it seems to have slid down the agenda.’
Davies questioned whether the government was back-tracking on its decision not to extend LLP beyond professional firms, hence the delay.
English ICA vice-president and PwC partner Graham Ward emphasised that need for urgent action. ‘The hard facts of life are that we have to hope that nothing new comes up next time when the government puts together the top choices. There is no substitute for getting on with it,’ he said.
Deloitte & Touche national accounting and audit partner Ken Wild said even if LLP legislation was delayed it need not hinder the progress of the wider Company Law Review, including the LLP review. The outcome of the next stage of that review will be made public by the end of the year.
Ernst & Young has lodged its appeal against a High Court ruling earlier this year to clarify the tax status of setting up an LLP in Jersey. The firm, alongside PwC, applied to the Inland Revenue to settle the matter.
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