|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Cousins: The debate has been short but illuminating. I especially thank my right hon. Friend the Minister for her remarks and for taking this opportunity to set out the Government's approach. We shall obviously be able to debate all these matters again in the context of the companies Bill that we have been promised this afternoon. That is a joyous prospect for those of us gathered here today. What an opportunity it will be to convince many of our colleagues that they should join us in considering these intricate and interesting matters.
I sound a warning to my right hon. Friend, however: the test for a rules-based or a principles-based approach cannot be absolute. Through the International Accounting Standards Board, we must seek reconciliation between the different approaches being developed in the United States and in Europe. It would be a disaster if we closed our minds, and our legislation, to acceptance of some of the rules-based requirements that are emerging from the US. That could produce tensions for companies registered both in this country and the United States, especially the larger ones. We must avoid the conflict between the two systems that is now a real possibility.
We may want to create a truly competitive market in the provision of audit services, but we are already in an extreme situation. The competitive market is eroding before our eyes. When we return to these matters, I
19 Oct 2004 : Column 814
suspect that the Minister will find that the measures required to preserve a competitive market are even more extreme than those she is willing to consider at present.
Finally, Senator Sarbanes himself wanted to go for radical separation of audit and non-audit services, especially in relation to tax avoidance, which has become a profitable global industry of the most powerful kind. The Government tried to address that aspect in the Finance Act 2004, which requires for the first time the registration of tax avoidance schemesor tax mitigation schemes, if that is a more acceptable formulation. A real issue will emerge under our regime for companies supplying the same company with both tax mitigation devices and audit services. Whatever happens to new clause 9, that issue will certainly not go away. None the less, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.
Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn.
No. 2, in page 29, line 12, in clause 23, leave out 'thinks' and insert 'reasonably believes'.
No. 3, in page 29, line 12, in clause 23, after 'thinks', insert 'on reasonable grounds'.
No. 21, in page 29, leave out line 14 and insert
No. 4, in page 29, line 14, after 'may', insert
No. 5, in page 29, line 14, at end insert 'during normal office hours'.
No. 6, in page 29, line 16, after 'there', insert 'during normal office hours'.
No. 7, in page 29, line 16, leave out 'thinks' and insert 'reasonably believes'.
No. 8, in page 29, line 16, after 'necessary', insert 'on reasonable grounds'.
No. 9, in page 29, line 16, after 'necessary', insert
No. 10, in page 29, line 16, after 'necessary', insert
No. 22, in page 29, line 17, at end insert
No. 11, in page 29, line 17, at end insert
No. 23, in page 29, line 18, after second 'premises', insert
No. 12, in page 29, line 20, after subsection (3) insert
No. 13, in page 29, line 21, after '(2)', insert
No. 24, in page 29, line 32, at end insert
No. 14, in page 30, line 7, at end insert
No. 15, in page 30, line 42, at end insert
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|