The UK government is expected to announce further delays to its shakeup of the audit sector, after dropping a draft bill on audit reform from the Queen’s Speech.
A draft bill to introduce a raft of measures aimed at reforming the UK’s audit industry, including by replacing the UK’s audit watchdog with a new more powerful regulator, has been dropped from the Queen’s Speech, according to reports in Bloomberg and the Financial Times.
The Queen’s Speech, which is scheduled to be held on the 10th May, outlines the government’s plans and priorities for the coming year, and marks the reopening of parliament.
Audit reform was previously listed as a “potential subject of legislation” for the upcoming Queen’s Speech, alongside other topical issues including Channel 4 ownership and national minimum wage for ferry crews.
However, the UK government has now dropped its plans for audit reform from the Queen’s Speech, despite business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s claims that audit reform is a priority for the government.
Calls to overhaul the UK audit industry have gained momentum in recent years in the wake of series of major audit scandals, involving major British companies including collapsed construction giant Carillion and café chain Patisserie Valerie.
The plans are set to see a new body, called the Audit Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA), replace the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), following criticisms the current watchdog has failed to properly regulate auditors.
The news comes as the UK’s bid to shakeup the audit sector has faced repeated delays. The department for Business, Energy, and Industry Strategy (BEIS) has been approached for comment.