News in brief.

Pop star Sir Elton John has lost his multimillion pound High Court case against PricewaterhouseCoopers. The 53-year-old singer tried to sue his former accountancy firm, PwC, formerly Price Waterhouse, and Andrew Haydon, the former managing director of management company John Reid Enterprises, for negligence in managing his business affairs and tour costs he claimed he should not have paid. But in his 138-page judgement, Mr Justice Ferris said: ‘I have concluded the agreement which Sir Elton reached with his management company, JREL, regarding the costs for touring does not require that those costs should have been paid by JREL.’

For full details see

– KPMG has been appointed receiver to Glasgow-based entertainment business Big Beat, owner of London nightclub Home, which was closed down following the loss of its public entertainment licence. The pub, club, restaurant and hotel business ran 23 operations based mainly in Scotland, with other premises in London and Sydney. The receivers said each business would continue trading until a buyer was found.

KPMG’s website is at

– An audit report by KPMG has slammed the lack of financial controls within the Metropolitan police, saying tens of millions of pounds are being wasted each year. The report says there are no adequate controls over invoices, debt recovery, expenses and overtime payments. The results of the audit were revealed by Lord Harris of Haringey, chairman of the new Metropolitan Police Authority.

The Metropolitan Police Authority’s website is

– Receivers from PwC are ‘cautiously optimistic’ of finding a buyer for Cammell Laird, the troubled north-west shipbuilder after they were called in last week. Cammell Laird was forced into receivership after a series of cancelled orders blew a hole its accounts, casting doubt over the future of 3,500 jobs. The shipbuilder is said to have debts of #125m.

More details at and

– The Institute of Directors has claimed the move towards increasing regulation of working practices brought about by the work/life balance lobby is damaging the competitiveness of UK businesses. It singled out small businesses and women employees as those being most adversely affected by the ‘red tape’ introduced by the work/life balance lobbyists, claiming the moves were harming those people it was meant to be helping. Allegations that the work place is characterised by employer dissatisfaction, illness and stress due to long hours, inflexible working practices and increasing job insecurity were untrue, the IoD said.

The institute’s website is at

– Electronic service delivery should not lead to a loss of accountability, according to a report from the Public Audit Forum. The PAF, representing the six national audit agencies, has reviewed the audit implications of the ESD systems envisaged by the ‘modernising government agenda’ and has set out basic advice for both auditors and management involved in ESD.

A full copy of the report is available at

– Chelsea FC chairman Ken Bates has hit out at Deloitte & Touche’s latest report on football finance, saying the firm was wrong over its calculation of wages at the club. Writing in the Sunday People, Bates disputed the figure of #47m, which put the club at the top of the league for wages in the premiership, above league champions Manchester United. Instead, he claimed the figure should be #36m.

Click on for more on D&T’s football report.

– Consumer Affairs minister Kim Howells claimed this week that there was no hiding place for ‘dodgy’ directors after record figures for director disqualifications were revealed. The DTI said that 1,500 directors had been disqualified last year and a further 1,593 fresh proceedings had been issued, both all-time high figures.

For more on company directors, go to

– The Inland Revenue has confirmed businesses will not have to pay interest on tax or national insurance contributions deferred as a result of serious financial difficult caused by the foot-and-mouth crisis. The Revenue also confirmed penalties would not be charged for late tax returns provided they were sent in as soon as any serious disruption caused by the disease had ended. Local Revenue offices will have discretion over who is eligible for such treatment.

More on the foot-and-mouth crisis on page 3.

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