Institutes – English ICA hits at spin doctors

The English ICA has hit out at the government’s tactics for handling the media and castigated Whitehall ‘spin doctors’ for influencing the content of Treasury documents released on Budget Day.

In its submission to the Finance Bill committee, the institute’s Tax Faculty, a focus group for members working in tax, has laid out its concerns on various aspects of the Bill.

The submission suggests comments in press releases explaining the tax changes in chancellor Gordon Brown’s Budget give a ‘gloss’ that masks the real intentions of, and reasons for, proposals.

‘The Budget Day press releases and the Treasury Explanatory Notes on Clauses seem more concerned with “spin” than what the law is supposed to do and why,’ said the faculty’s technical manager Peter Bickley.

Spin-doctoring by media professionals detracts from the usefulness of the press releases in providing much-needed clarification and fails to aid their interpretation, the Faculty added.

Faculty members are also concerned that in future years, the spin will mean it is more difficult to determine the exact intention of the legislation.

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