BUDGET IN DEPTH: Brown ducks battle on FRS 17

Ernst & Young recently closed its final salary scheme to existing members, while Whitbread, ICI, Lloyds TSB, Sainsbury’s and BT have all axed their final salary schemes in favour of less costly schemes due to a volatile stock market, earlier retirement and longevity.

Some observers had hoped Brown would act to stop further closures by reintroducing dividend tax credits.

However Brown made no mention of the recent furore.

The controversy will be re-ignited tomorrow when Accounting Standards Board chairwoman Mary Keegan meets with Sir David Tweedie, chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board, to discuss pensions accounting standards.

Experts predict that imminent updates to international accounting standard IAS 19 will bring it into line with the UK’s FRS 17 rule. Sir David was ASB chairman when FRS 17 was developed. However it came into force when Keegan took up the ASB mantel.

Keegan has so far resisted all calls to change the standard.

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