Letters – 8 October

Power to the people?

As an FCA, I did not realise there was a Trotskyite band in ACCA until I read Mr Torrington’s letter (‘Opinion’, 24 September).

He goes on to say ‘you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs’, which has been attributed to Karl Marx.

Does this indicate Mr Torrington is from the Marxist-Leninist wing of ACCA, or do his complaints about numerous votes indicate membership of the Stalinist faction?

Grenville Aucott FCA, Croft, Leicestershire

Committee guidelines In the article ‘IFAC guidelines a SWOT analysis’ (13 August), John Stokdyk outlined the content of the submission by the English ICA’s Financial Reporting Committee on the IFAC ‘Public Sector Committee’s exposure draft guideline for governmental financial reporting’.

We have received almost 60 submissions on the ED from respondents around the world, including professional accounting bodies, government agencies, audit institutions and international financial institutions. The Public Sector Committee recognises that respondents have devoted time and resources to the preparation of their submissions. It will now consider the issues raised and make amendments to the guideline where appropriate.

As might be expected, the submissions reflect a diverse range of views, which will play an important part in ensuring the guideline is both relevant and accurate.

Regarding the composition of the Public Sector Committee, readers may be interested that, of the 12 countries represented, four are from continental Europe; and one of the technical advisers to the UK representative is the chairman of the Public Sector Committee of the Federation des Experts Comptables Europeens. In this context, it is difficult to see evidence of any Anglo-Saxon or anti-European bias on the committee.

Simon Bradbury, senior project manager, IFAC Public Sector Committee Standards Project, Wellington, New Zealand

By order of the Bank Jim Cousins (‘View from the House’, 1 October) suggests that prime minister Tony Blair recently ‘lent his weight to the cause for lower interest rates’. But interest rates are now decided solely by the Bank of England, whose only remit is to meet the government’s inflation target.

For Mr Cousins to suggest politicians can influence interest rates is to make a nonsense of the courageous decision by chancellor Brown to remove from politicians their ability to meddle with the economy, by deciding interest rates on political grounds.

Mr Cousins and his fellow North-East MPs may well want interest rates to come down, but they will have to wait until the Bank of England judges that interest rates can be reduced without jeopardising the inflation target.

In this way, the economic stability denied to the UK by successive generations of politicians may yet be achieved.

MC Fitzpatrick, head of economics, Chantrey Vellacott, London

NICs: another form of tax Richard Baron’s article on national insurance (17 September) points out that employee NICs are, de facto, a tax on earned income by another name and should be accepted as such. Surely a single combined rate should be implemented, covering both earned and unearned income as a substitute for the basic rate and 20% tax bands. The proposed move of NI policy from the DSS to the Inland Revenue probably indicates that government is feeling its way in the same direction.

The distinction between non-contributory and contributory benefits is largely artificial since, if a contributory benefit has not been earned, then an equivalent non-contributory benefit is available. By swapping to a system where the only criteria for the payment of benefits is need, the system would be simpler, cheaper and fairer.

Brian H Worboys FCA, Chelmsford, Essex

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