Local housing minister questioned on future of public audit

THE FUTURE of public audit is being debated in Westminster today, as Grant Shapps, minister for housing and local government, faces questions about competition and accountability in the market.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles announced the disbanding of the Audit Commission last summer, and debate about its future continues.

Audit Commission members are pushing for the agency to become an independent mutual, and the House of Lords report into audit last week said this would help reduce the dominance of the Big Four.

Shapps will give evidence to the Communities and Local Government Committee this afternoon, alongside Amyas Morse, comptroller and audit general of the National Audit Office.

If it were a private company, the Audit Commission would be the fifth largest in the UK, but experts have questioned whether it can re-emerge as a serious competitor in a highly concentrated industry.

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