Week in review: 2 – 6 December


saw the government launch a major VAT offensive with athousand VAT men being diverted to crackdown on tax avoidance in a bid to rake in £2bn a year in missing revenue by 2005/06.

On the practice front Howarth Clark Whitehill became the first accounting firm outside of the Big Four to announce plans to separate out its consulting arm from its main accounting business.

On Tuesday the largest tax case in UK history got underway as solicitors battled it out with the Inland Revenue over a case which could ultimately cost the chancellor billions.

It was also announced that a certified accountant was handed a 15 month custodial sentence and forced to make a voluntary payment of £75,000 after pleading guilty to ‘cheating her Majesty and the Public Revenue’.

Wednesday saw Howard Flight, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, accuse Gordon Brown of hiding over £100bn off the government balance sheet.

A report by the National Audit Office into major projects undertaken by the Ministry of Defence found that nearly three-quarters of them are suffering from delays or price increases.

On Thursday Accountancy Age revealed that mid-tier firms have picked up tens of millions of pounds of new business from the Big Four as an increasing number of companies switch consultants over fear of conflicts of interest.

Also on Thursday, Accountancy Age revealed the front-runners in the race to replace Rosalind Wright as head of the Serious Fraud Office, although there are no signs of any accountants being favoured to take the post.

Friday saw the week round off with more questions asked of Gordon Brown. Top economists from financial think-tanks warned that the chancellor’s plans for public finances may be over-optimistic and left little room for error.

For more news from the week that was go to last seven days.

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