BusinessCompany NewsByers’ comfort letter not on Transport books

Byers' comfort letter not on Transport books

Transport secretary Stephen Byers' letter of comfort covering liabilities -potentially in the hundreds of millions of pounds - to prospective private sector partners for the modernisation of London Underground will not be included in his department's accounts.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Andrew Smith, said in Commons the accounts would still comply with the Treasury Resource Accounting Manual. He added: ‘The contingent liability arising from any letters of comfort would therefore be recorded as a note to the department’s resource accounts.’

Smith was replying to shadow Liberal Democrat chancellor Matthew Taylor, who called for the advice of the Office of National Statistics on the treatment of the LU PPP letter, which is to be placed in the MPs’ library.

Smith said the ONS had not been called on to give advice as the manual took account of financial reporting standards pronounced by the National Standards Board.

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