News in Brief – 8 July

More cash for regions

Up to £50m in regional venture capital funds will be made available in the next Budget, prime minister Tony Blair told a British Venture Capital Association conference this week. Blair said the funds, details of which were set out in a trade department consultation paper, would encourage ‘corporate venturing’, although delegates said they wanted to see cuts in capital gains tax to boost business.

ASB consults on FRSSE The Accounting Standards Board has published its second annual revision to the financial reporting standard for smaller entities, which applies to companies which make less than £2.8m a year. The proposed amendments will take in changes introduced in FRSs 12 to 15, which were issued in the past year.

Softly, softly at Revenue The Inland Revenue this week played down rumours it is about to make an announcement on its controversial personal services company tax crackdown. Accountants and tax advisers are hoping for some form of consultation document to be released ahead of a meeting between the Paymaster General and the professional bodies – including the English ICA and the Chartered Institute of Taxation – on Wednesday 14 July.

‘Stop the rot’ on regulationDeloitte & Touche partner and Accounting Standards Board member Ken Wild has called on authorities in the UK and Europe to ‘stop the regulation rot’. He said: ‘Let’s reach a point where government, the Accounting Standards Board and the Stock Exchange mandate no additional disclosure unless an existing disclosure is discarded.’

Cooper-Parry in 35th place Cooper-Parry has asked us to point out that had the firm responded to our request for information for the Accountancy Age Top 50, it would have been placed in 35th position. Its fee income for the year to 30 April 1999 was £7.75m, up 10.3% on the year. The 17-partner firm has two offices and 120 professional staff. Its fees per partner for the year were £455,600 while fees per professional staff member were £64,500.

Tax return respite Some 400,000 people – half of whom are pensioners – will not receive a tax return for 1999/2000 after the Inland Revenue agreed to exempt taxpayers with an income of £2,500 which is not taxed at source but dealt with through the PAYE system.

Tories slam CPA Government proposals to allow the Child Support Agency access to Inland Revenue files have been denounced by the Tories as another move to strip away traditional protection for taxpayers. Shadow chief secretary and accountant MP David Heathcoat-Amory said the Tories would demand ‘judicial involvement’ to prevent fishing expeditions.

Modern ideas at NAO The National Audit Office has announced measures to take forward Whitehall’s Modernising Government initiative. As parliament’s independent watchdog, the NAO must find a way of working within joined-up government to ensure its audit response continues to be effective.

Private promises Staff transferring from government departments and agencies to the private sector under public-private partnership deals have been assured their employment status will be protected, public service minister Peter Kilfoyle said this week.

AAT attacks ACCA move The Association of Accounting Technicians has hit out at ACCA following the decision to reduce exemptions for AAT students. Chief executive Jane Scott Paul said the AAT was ‘very disappointed’.

Retro move on art The Treasury has backed down on its refusal to impose a 5% Euro-tax on all art and antiques moved into the UK for sale by announcing a VAT cut from 17.5% to 5% on imports created before 1973.

Related reading