President’s trip abroad costs £13,500

A fortnight long, the trip, which started this week, has cost the institute Pounds 13,500 – comparable with the estimated Pounds 15,000 prime minister Tony Blair and his family have spent on their three week summer jaunt to Mexico, Cornwall and Gascony.

Groom’s trip has been organised by the Corporation of London and includes stopovers in Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. Other members of the tour, led by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, include representatives from HSBC, LloydsTSB and the London Stock Exchange.

Groom will be using the trip to promote the importance of global accounting standards. He kicked off his tour by addressing business people in Brazil, which has a GDP of Pounds 4,100 per head.

An ICAEW spokesperson defended the expense, saying the trip was part of the institute’s public interest role, promoting London as an alternative international financial centre to the US. The institute would apply to Trade Partners UK, a governmental body, to recoup some of the cost, she said.

But a high-profile member of the ICAEW told she couldn’t understand why Groom had to go to South America.

‘Pushing international standards is a generally laudable aim, I support it. But I struggle to see why Michael is going,’ she said.

‘South America is not very relevant, it doesn’t affect what we do as much as Europe does.’

Talking point

  • Travel guides reckon you can live comfortably in South America on Pounds 35 per day. So was Groom’s trip a waste of money? Or is it worth paying Pounds 13,500 to promote the ICAEW in South America?
    Have your say on this, or any other issue, by emailing

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