Brown missed Budget chances

Among a list of measures that had been anticipated were clarification of new rules for foreign exchange, addressing the continuing furore over FRS 17 and finally getting round to raising the audit threshold to the much-touted level of £4.8m.

Changes to FOREX caused much consternation on Budget day when promised documents planned to be released as part of the chancellor’s announcements failed to materialise.

The Treasury intends repealing foreign exchange rules and replacing them with the loans relationship legislation.

Derek Jenkins, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: ‘We haven’t seen the document that was promised.’

Gordon Brown also ducked becoming involved in the continuing row over FRS 17, by making no move to counter the closure of a raft of final salary pension schemes which the accounting rule is supposed to have caused.

Mary Keegan, chairwoman of the Accounting Standards Board, has so far resisted calls for changes to FRS 17 which have come from the CBI and the Tory party. Alistair Darling, work and pensions secretary, has even held talks with Keegan giving some indication of government concern.

Those who are still waiting for a rise in the audit threshold will also have to wait longer. Though much anticipated, an increase from £1m to £4.8m failed to emerge again in Brown’s Budget.

Peter Mitchell, chairman of the Small Practitioners Association, said there was ‘disappointment’ the government had not moved to put UK businesses on the same footing as competitors in Europe. ‘I don’t understand why we are still waiting,’ he said.

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