HC Deb 27 November 2003 vol 415 cc440-1W
Mr. Stephen O'Brien

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what assessment she has made of the effects of raising the audit exemption threshold to £5.6 million; and if she will make a statement; [140887]

(2) what assessment she has made of the impact of raising the audit exemption threshold to £5.6 million on the business environment, with particular reference to (a) standards of business behaviour, (b) quality of financial information available to stakeholders and (c) levels of economic crime. [140888]

Ms Hewitt

The Government estimate that raising the audit exemption threshold has the potential to save small companies around £94 million a year. There are inevitably risks as well as benefits associated with raising the threshold. The Government concluded, following consultation, that these risks are small and are outweighed by the benefits in terms of costs savings and greater flexibility for small businesses. The Government's consultation document on the proposal contained a draft impact assessment discussing the risks and benefits. The consultation document "Raising the Thresholds", which was published on 11 July 2003, is available on the Department's website at http:// www.dti.gov.uk/cld/published.htm. A final version of the impact assessment will also be available there in due course.