Britain's top accountants say the Treasury does not have the financial expertise of the private sector

Lauren Fedor
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The ICAEW said the Treasury lacked the expertise of private sector firms (Source: Getty)

A leading industry group has slammed the Treasury today, saying the government department is "not functioning as a modern finance industry".

In a new report out today, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) says the Treasury needs major reforms and restructuring to "more effectively tackle the deficit, be more efficient in spending taxpayers' money and empower political decision making".

The accountants' group said that compared to the private sector, the Treasury "does not currently have the same levels of financial management expertise".

ICAEW urged the Treasury to apply a "much greater focus on what value the government gets for public money and whether policy outcomes are being achieved", saying the government could have been more diligent in managing the sale of the government stakes in Royal Mail and Eurostar: "This compares to business finance departments where there is a stronger focus on checking whether outcomes have been met and how effectively money has been spent."

"This government was elected on the promise to get public finances under control, reduce the deficit and chart a path to stronger finances," said ICAEW director of public finance Ross Campbell. "There is value in a debate about whether the government’s financial architecture can help deliver this outcome in the face of a number of challenges."

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