BusinessCompany NewsWeek in review: January 20 – 24

Week in review: January 20 - 24

This week saw the publication of the Higgs' report aimed at improving corporate governance in the UK, the end of the Equitable hearing and Inland Revenue admissions about celebrity tax files.

Monday

saw the publication of the eagerly awaited Higgs’ report on corporate governance. Responses to the report, and the accompanying Smith report on audit committees, broadly supported the recommendations, but there were some concerns.

Somewhat more humourously, administrator Grant Thornton struck a deal with Carlton and Granada enabling ITV Digital’s former subscribers to keep their set-top boxes.

On Tuesday, Sir Nick Montague, chairman of the Inland Revenue said celebrities such as the Beckhams and MPs have special protection within the Inland Revenue’s computer systems to stop staff ‘browsing’ their tax records.

In the courts, Ernst & Young’s attempt to have the £2.6bn Equitable Life negligence action against it struck out, finished with the High Court judge retiring to make his decision.

Wednesday, we revealed how an NHS finance director was fired ‘because of his frankness, openness, honesty and his rather annoying habit of telling the truth’.

Also on the same day, the EU reached a historic compromise agreement on rules governing the taxation of savings invested abroad.

On Thursday our top story was how a second Big Four firm moved to protect itself from third party liability claims by adding a new disclaimer to its audit reports, while our Big Question survey found that almost half of all finance directors expect their businesses to suffer if there is a war with Iraq.

Friday saw the North of England revealed as the insolvency graveyeard, with more businesses having gone bust in the last year than in any other region in the country, confirming a North-South divide in failure rates.

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