Are accountants really indifferent to ordinary people?

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Neasa MacErlean had an interesting review of the next round of tax changes likely in the UK in the Observer today. She was kind enough to quote some of my thoughts, but more interesting was a comment from BDO's senior tax partner Stephen Herring. He is reported to have said:

that a cut in corporation tax 'is virtually inevitable' and could be funded by a rise in VAT.

His justification is that the UK's VAT rate of 17.5 per cent is among the lowest in the EU - and would still be among the lowest if it went up to 18 or 18.5 per cent.

Does he have any perception of justice?

Does he have any awareness of the regressive impact of VAT?

Does he care?

Am I surprised that I was interviewed last week about the impact on recruitment of the poor impression the accounting profession has in society or that this morning I had a mail from a guy wanting to find social purpose in his work as an accountant, and who certainly hasn't got it at his Big 4 firm?

No, I'm not. The senior echelons of this profession and the big firms seem to care about just one thing: their cash and the ability of their largest clients to provide it, whatever the social cost. It's not pretty. It can't last.

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