David Heald, professor of accountancy at the University of Aberdeen Business
School and former member of the Financial Reporting Advisory Board, has put a
figure on the amount of debt the government will leave off its balance
sheet when it brings in IFRS in 2009.
With “telephone numbers” on the news practically every day, £32bn might not
even have been an “and finally” story but as we near an election the
government’s willingness to level with the public becomes critical.
Only, three weeks ago Alistair Darling told journalists: “I’ve always said
that whatever the subject is, if you explain your case, if you explain why you
are doing things and you level with people, then I think there’s a far better
chance they will say, ‘OK, I see your point of view’.”
The public have a right to see the numbers. The deficit figure Darling sees
should be the same one the rest of us do. Any attempt to perpetuate a system
where this is not the case should be condemned. The government should give the
public the raw figures and let us all make our own minds up.
When it reports to Europe it can use what ever accounting rules are
appropriate. But when it reports to the UK public, it should offer the numbers
that deliver the most realistic view of the economy. And that’s using the latest
international standards: with another £32bn of debt on the books.
"The whole idea of HMRC officials supplying confidential information about individuals to the media on a non-attributable basis is, or should be, a matter of serious concern," say Supreme Court judges
UK-based non-doms have paid ten times more tax than the average taxpayer, raising concerns over the Brexit impact on non-dom contributions and therefore, the economy
A senior MP has questioned the impact of HMRC’s decision to undertake yet another radical overhaul of its internal structure
The Apple Tax situation; Accountants replaced by robots; and The Accountancy Age Top 50+50; all discussed by head of editorial Kevin Reed