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ICAEW letter to the Chancellor
On 20 February ICAEW CEO Michael Izza wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

In this letter, ICAEW's CEO outlines ICAEW’s priorities for the coming years. These include; delivering on our UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) commitments, ensuring Professional and Business Services remain globally competitive, and holding businesses to account through strong corporate governance and accountability.

As this Budget is the first for the new Government, it will set the tone for the coming years, and in the letter we have outlined how this decade must be one of transition for the UK economy.

Text of the Chancellor letter:

20th February 2020

Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer
HM Treasury
1 Horse Guards


Congratulations on your appointment as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Ahead of the Budget, I wanted to write to set out ICAEW’s key priorities.

This first Budget from the new Government will set the tone for the coming years. The policies announced on 11 March will be crucial in tackling the big challenges facing our society and laying the foundations for the UK’s global economic success.

As you may know, ICAEW supports over 180,000 chartered accountants and students worldwide, and our members advise over three million companies in the UK, the vast majority of whom are SMEs. Their work underpins growth and investment in every sector of the economy, and they are often the first point of reference for business leaders as they seek new opportunities overseas.

We have entered a decade of transition for the UK economy. During the next 10 years, we will need to deliver on our UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) commitments, while ensuring Professional and Business Services remain globally competitive, and continuing to hold businesses to account through strong corporate governance and accountability:

  • Deliver our SDG commitments by 2030: Delivering these commitments, especially on climate change, requires us to start now. The sooner we begin, the easier it will be for businesses, particularly SMEs, to absorb the changes. For businesses to reliably track their progress towards the Government’s 2050 net zero target, they must invest in the skills to measure emissions. Government can help by recognizing the focus, patience and up-skilling this will require, encouraging businesses to take this journey and setting a good example by monitoring its own emissions. Chartered Accountants have a vital role to play – applying our skills in measuring, reporting, auditing and assuring data – to achieve these goals.
  • Ensure Professional and Business Services remain globally competitive: New trade deals with the European Union and other global partners must include Professional and Business Services (PBS) and issues crucial to them. For example, a full adequacy agreement for personal data, ensuring mobility of professionals through extended arrangements for temporary entry and stay, and mutual recognition of qualifications. This will ensure the sector remains globally competitive and continues to attract investment and income for the UK. Through the PBS Sector Deal we can unlock talent in the UK and win new business globally. 
  • Hold businesses to account: Society’s expectations of business is changing. As the demand for greater transparency grows, there needs to be an evolution in corporate governance, financial reporting and audit. Government can help by accelerating legislation to set up a new regulator, the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority and equipping it with the powers proposed by Sir John Kingman. By building on the Government’s three recent reviews, we will ensure the profession is providing assurance on the issues that matter most to stakeholders. Reform of Companies House is also essential to improve the quality of information on public registers and to prevent their exploitation by criminals. We support the reforms proposed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and urge Treasury to provide funding for them.

Chartered Accountants act as trusted advisers and provide business support to millions of companies in all parts of the country and overseas. During this decade of transition, the accountancy profession will be central in providing the kind of support that businesses will need.

I would welcome an opportunity to discuss our priorities further, and how we might support you.

Yours sincerely

Michael DM Izza
Chief Executive, ICAEW

T +44 (0)20 7920 8419
E michael.izza@icaew.com

Note: ICAEW’s Tax Faculty wrote to the Rt Hon Jesse Norman on tax on 7th February 2020.