The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales – of which I am a Fellow – had a discussion in a House of Commons committee room last night under the title ‘Business and finance: a new era?‘ There are to be four of these meetings. The titles are:
Re-balancing the economy
Improving bank ethics
Tackling international corruption
One might say, how times have changed. The idea that the ICAEW would have wanted debate on these issues only five years ago would have been virtually unthinkable. So I welcome the process, and took part in last night’s debate. If invited I might go to others too. And for the record, I did not, as some expected, use the occasion to discuss my points of difference with David Gauke, who was there, since I thought them too well known (although the tax gap, country-by-country reporting, the General Anti-Tax Avoidance Principle Bill and others all got brief mention. I did instead, in the spirit of the meeting, which was looking at a new era in thinking, discuss the crisis facing corporation tax I wrote about yesterday.
The sessions were also welcome because they were on the record: too much debate is behind closed doors or under Chatham House rules. When transparency is under discussion that will not do. For that reason I may raise some of the matters raised in a few subsequent blogs whilst welcoming the ICAEW initiative in running this programme.