An insolvency a day, keeps …[QQ] It is unfortunate that Malcolm Fillmore’s letter (Accountancy Age, 3 February, page 17) came to be published in the same week as Dr Shipman’s conviction. His final sentence, ‘Do we really want to investigate the doctor every time a patient dies?’, leads me to conclude that the new Association of Business Recovery Professionals – or whoever is going to monitor those rescue-only professionals who are not regulated as Licensed Insolvency Practitioners – should keep an eye out for ‘serial killers’ in the company doctoring trade. At the very least, someone should keep count of failed rescues and note who was conducting their ‘recovery’ process. Gerald AF Coward, Harborne, Birmingham Don’t ignore bond scheme The lack of support for the bond finance option for London Underground is difficult to understand (‘Stop it from going down the tube’, 27 January, page 20). John Stittle suggests it is because government does not want current management to have unfettered autonomy in future fundraising. If true, it suggests it is considering the urgent need for upgrading and the need to operate the network efficiently in future as a single problem – when they are two separate matters. Clearly, the first task is to get the upgrading work done properly and to finance the work as cheaply as possible. The form of contract for the work could be such that the risk of any cost overrun would be borne by the contractor. The second task is to decide who should run the network and on what terms. Maybe this should involve the private sector. Whatever the decision, an upgraded network needs to be there to run in the first place. It has to be accepted that the question of whether the rejuvenated network can recoup the original investment, is a secondary issue, albeit contentious. There is a limit to how high fares can be hiked without reducing the attraction of tube travel. Any shortfall must be paid for, and if not by the travelling public it must be by ratepayers. But which ones? How should the shortfall be allocated between inner and outer London? The task of getting all councils to agree the bill that each should pick up boggles the mind! The task has to be faced if the private sector can’t be enticed into upgrading the network and operate it without substantial funding. In short, it is entirely in government’s power to raise funds on the cheapest terms and to decide what autonomy to allow management. It makes no sense to attempt to push the private sector into raising more funds on terms reflecting the risks that would have been parcelled out to them, particularly if the risk-reward equation does not work in the first place. If direct access to the bond markets worked in New York, surely it can be made to work here? Paddy Walker-Taylor, via e-mail All dressed up with only the office to go to Perhaps the debate about the type of clothing (‘Taking the casual approach’, 3 February, page 11) to be worn in an accountant’s office is nothing new. As an articled clerk some 50 or more years ago, I recall a young colleague turning up on a Saturday morning (yes, we did work on Saturdays) dressed in flannels and a sports jacket. He was promptly sent home to dress properly and then to return to the office. T Eastwood FCA, Huddersfield, West Yorks All letters should be sent to: The Editor, Accountancy Age, VNU House, 32-34 Broadwick Street, London W1A 2HG Tel: 020 7316 9236 Fax: 020 7316 9250 Or e-mail us on: firstname.lastname@example.org Accountancy Age reserves the right to edit letters for space or clarity. Please include your title, company name and a daytime telephone number. ?:
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