Accountants best for ‘hands on’ tactic

Many members of parliament have little hands on experience of the worlds of
business and finance, often relying heavily for information on contacts in their
constituencies and briefings in parliament.

Until now there has been no formal group in parliament to enable business in
general, and accountants in particular, to discuss legislation that impacts upon
them and their employees with MPs and policymakers. I am delighted that this has
now been put right. Several of my colleagues and I have established an associate
parliamentary group on business, finance and accountancy.

There is barely an area of everyday business practice that isn’t affected by
legislation or regulation. In this session alone, parliament has been
considering very complex bills on company law and legislative and regulatory
reform, in addition to the annual finance bill. Parliament needs to consult
business if it is to pass laws that will help rather than hinder wealth creation
in the UK: laws that will benefit businesses, consumers and employees.

We all know what an essential role accountants play in business as auditors,
finance directors, pension fund trustees and as advisers to businesses and
individuals on every high street in Britain. It is your expertise and experience
of putting policy into practice that will be harnessed through this group so
that the quality of our legislation can be improved in the future.

The group has been established with cross-party support and senior
representatives from the three main parties. The Rt Hon John McFall MP, chairman
of the influential Commons Treasury Select Committee, joins Liberal Democrat
shadow chancellor Dr Vincent Cable and Labour peer Baroness Goudie as founding

The changing dynamics of parliament mean that ministers are working more
closely with MPs to build consensus on key issues. By working more closely with
MPs and policymakers, business and the accountancy profession can shape
legislation and help MPs understand the impact on business of new rules and

Through the creation of this group, the accountancy profession has an
opportunity to advance even further the public interest ethos that motivated its
founding fathers.

So while ministers, MPs and officials cannot be expert in every area of
public policy, we at least can listen and learn from the experience of people
who work everyday to generate wealth and employment for the UK. I want to ensure
our meetings are relevant to accountants in every part of the UK and all

Mark Hoban is shadow financial secretary to the Treasury

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