Cuts imperil Treasury crisis response


MPs have warned that the Treasury may not have sufficient staff to deal with
the financial crisis.

Select Committee
made the claim in a report on administration and
expenditure in the chancellor’s departments.

The study said: ‘The economic situation is placing ever increasing demands on
the Treasury Group. We question whether continued staff reductions will leave
the group able to deliver all that is expected of it.’
The panel also called on the Treasury to work out how to deal with banking
bailouts after the department admitted major sticking points in the Northern
Rock takeover.

‘Northern Rock was taken into temporary public ownership on 17 February 2008
and the Treasury resource accounts were published on 16 July 2008, suggesting
that it took five months for HM Treasury to identify an accounting treatment of
Northern Rock which the National Audit Office would accept as true and fair,’
said the report.

‘It is already apparent that the Treasury Group’s 2008/09 resource accounts
will throw up a number of equally complex accounting issues: the treatment of
the government’s revised equity stake in Northern Rock, the transactions with
Abbey Santander and Bradford & Bingley, and its investment in the
part-nationalised banks.’

The MPs were told that the accounting treatment of the Treasury’s
transactions with Abbey and Bradford & Bingley had not yet been agreed with
the National Audit Office.

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