The Treasury Group's own resources
The economic situation is placing ever increasing
demands on the Treasury Group. We question whether continued staff
reductions will leave the Group able to deliver all that is expected
of it. The transactions with the nationalised and part-nationalised
banks raise accounting issues which we encourage the Treasury
to discuss with the National Audit Office in order to ensure that
the Group's 2008-09 Annual Report and Accounts can be laid together
prior to the summer adjournment.
The Treasury as a central department
In order to aid public scrutiny, we recommend that
the Treasury's future Departmental Reports include information
on the performance of the nationalised banks. Similarly, we call
upon the Government to publish an annual report on performance
indicators for UK Financial Investments (UKFI). We note progress
made toward implementing International Financial Reporting Standards
for the Government's accounts. We note the work being undertaken
to improve the transparency of Government Estimates and accounts
and we encourage the Treasury to consider ways in which the revised
documents might best facilitate parliamentary scrutiny.
The work of the Debt Management Office
The Debt Management Office (DMO) is facing a substantial
increase in its forecast gilt issuance levels due to the financing
requirements of the Government's fiscal stimulus and we recommend
that the Government reviews the resource requirement of the DMO
in light of this. We recommend that the Government puts in place
contingency plans should the DMO face a series of uncovered auctions.
The Treasury Group's performance against objectives
The Treasury Group has reported 'slippage' against
three of its ten PSAs. We recommend that improvements be made
to the measurement of regional economic growth. We note that the
Government continues to slip against its target to halve child
poverty by 2010 and recommend that the Government improves the
clarity of its disclosures against this target. We are concerned
that the Lisbon goals no longer feature in any PSA and we call
upon the Government to continue to report annually against them.
HM Revenue and Customs
We note the substantial changes to HMRC senior management
in recent times. We are concerned that the payment made to one
outgoing staff member was unnecessarily generous. In order to
create stability and clear accountability within HMRC we recommend
that all outstanding senior management positions are filled as
soon as possible and invite HMRC to publicise the respective lines
of responsibility for its top members of staff. We recommend that
HMRC discloses the financial case for the closure of individual
offices to allow for proper public scrutiny of these figures.
We note performance short-comings by PFI providers of maintenance
and IT services and recommend that financial compensation from
the businesses involved is obtained.
The work of the Valuation Office Agency
The most significant issue for the Valuation Office
Agency (VOA) is its handling of the ports revaluation. We recommend
that the VOA reflect on the consequences of the deficiencies in
its communications and that the Government takes into account
the position of those Port Occupiers who have already made significant
payments to the Port Operators towards business rates. In light
of the failings of the VOA and the clear evidence that many businesses
will be forced to declare themselves insolvent even under these
revised arrangements, we recommend that the Government takes further
steps to mitigate the position of ports businesses.
The work of the Government Actuary's Department
We recommend that the Government Actuary's Department
(GAD) takes steps to improve its budgetary process. We recommend
that the Government ensures all bonus schemes are performance-related.
We recommend that the new Government Actuary examines the valuation
of miners' pensions. Finally, we trust that the Government Actuary
will acknowledge the implications of the Equitable Life situation
for GAD's reputation.