§ Lord Higgins
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they consider that the introduction of the Accounting Standard Board's Financial Regulation 17 will have a more stringent effect on those implementing it than the alternative proposal for European legislation. [HL3330]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham)
Accounting standards are a matter for the Accounting Standards Board, which is independent of government. Financial Report Standard 17 sets out how companies must show the costs of retirement provision in their accounts. Companies must comply with FRS17 by 2003.
There is a proposal that EU companies should comply with international accounting standards by 2005. The international standard corresponding to FRS17 (IAS 19) currently allows companies to smooth the effects of fluctuations in pension scheme asset values in their balance sheets, although the International Accounting Standards Board is reviewing this standard. Smoothing is not permitted by FRS17.