I keep reading that the government is planning to increase National Insurance contributions “to fund social care reform”. I really don’t think that’s correct. I don’t doubt that the government is planning to increase NI contributions. And that it is also planning to improve social care. But I question the idea that the one can really be said to be paying for the other.
Regular readers of this blog must be sick to death by now of me repeating how much damage accounting standards are doing to pension schemes (here, here, here and, even on video, here). So I’ll be brief this time – very, very brief. There is finally light at the end of the accounting tunnel.Read more
Tax avoidance has become a hot topic. The Times newspaper has recently unmasked a scheme in which income tax is avoided by the ludicrously simple means of saying the salary is only a loan which might have to be repaid (but never actually is). One of the newspaper’s columnists, David Aaronovitch, has been writing about the immorality of tax avoidance (both links behind a paywall).
I used to think it was easy to spot the moral dividing line when it came to tax avoidance. If our government had created the exemption, that meant they positively wanted us to take advantage of it. Anything else was almost certainly a loophole and morally objectionable, even if it was legal. But does that distinction still apply?Read more
Financial accounts are supposed to enable readers to understand the financial position of the entity under review. But, yesterday, the National Association of Pension Funds published a report attacking the notion that accounts provide neutral and reliable information about an employer’s pension scheme liabilities. The critique, written for the NAPF by Dr Iain Clacher and Professor Peter Moizer of Leeds University Business School, is pretty damning of the standard setters.Read more
The European courts have been causing controversy (again). Judgements handed down in Brussels and Strasbourg have left conservatives (small “c”) aghast and Liberals (big and small “L”) defending the rights-based approach. But scratch beneath the surface and, often, it’s not the rights that objectors object to. The problem is that, so often, the rights awarded in Europe aren’t what we were led to expect when those rights were introduced.Read more
I think the three words at the end of the following sentence must be the most chilling – and the most heart-warming – I have ever read from an accounting standard-setter:Read more
… to be giving a presentation whilst the audience is tweeting their comments onto a screen behind your head. Perhaps that’s going to be the way of the future.Read more
I had always thought that employee contributions into a pension scheme were a mistaken idea. Should I be re-thinking that in the light of Hutton’s report out today? Or should Lord Hutton?Read more
Lindsay Tomlinson is calling for a summit to change the way pension costs are calculated in company accounts. As chairman of the National Association of Pension Funds, Tomlinson would say that, wouldn’t he? Except that Lindsay Tomlinson is also a director of the Financial Reporting Council, the parent body for the UK’s accounting standard-setters.Read more
I took the morning off to watch Andy Murray’s semi-final in Australia before heading to the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation for a discussion on risk modelling. Intriguingly, it was the guys sponsored by RBS who outshone at both events.Read more