March 2010

In the run up to a General Election, debates about the policies of the three main political parties are fast...
All three parties want to boost parental choice and grant schools more autonomy, but two key battlegrounds are l...
All three parties are pledging to increase accountability on public health issues at local level, with greater or l...
Only one in ten local councils have made any estimate of the financial impact of an ageing population, accordi...
EasyCouncils vs John Lewis Councils
How local services are delivered is already a key battleground ...
One of the most controversial divides between the main parties is over the role of local authorities and regional...
How local public services are run
The way that our public services are structured and organised tends to...
There is agreement across the political parties of the need for a reduction in ...
Inspection versus Transparency
One of the fiercest areas of difference among Labour and the Conservatives i...
Council tax is a highly visible tax which has been subject to criticism following steep rises in som...
One recent survey by the BBC estimated that 25,000 council jobs would be lost over the next few years, as centr...

LABOUR                                                        CONSERVATIVES                               ...
This publication has been carefully prepared, but it has been written in general terms and should be seen as broad guidanc...
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Beyond The Election: the three main political parties' plans for local government


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Beyond The Election: the three main political parties' plans for local government

  2. 2. INTRODUCTION In the run up to a General Election, debates about the policies of the three main political parties are fast-moving, but the key themes are already clear. This paper focuses on local government. ‘Localism’ has long been a watchword for both government and opposition, so much of the content of this paper concerns different proposals for achieving more localist models of governance and public service delivery in one way or another. Despite recent attempts by the Government to correct the balance, there is a shared view that public services have become too centralised, with targets and inspection limiting local responsiveness and flexibility. All parties are now committed to more pooling of budgets at a local level, and more local discretion over spending. But key differences remain over the approach to planning, inspection, the regional agenda, the role of local authorities in education, the ability to raise funds locally and the delivery of local services (This document has been complied ahead of the publication of the Election Manifestos of each party, and the details are correct at the time of writing.) 2
  3. 3. EDUCATION All three parties want to boost parental choice and grant schools more autonomy, but two key battlegrounds are likely to be the role of the local authority in providing education, and the budget for investment in new schools. LABOUR CONSERVATIVES LIBERAL DEMOCRATS • Most schools would remain under local authority • Aim to create a new breed of independent, free, and • The local authority is centre stage, assuming strategic control, although the target remains to turn the 400 non-selective primary and secondary Academies, oversight of all state-funded schools, including poorest performing schools into independently-run funded by taxpayers through a new funding Academies - but all schools would be granted the Academies, free from local authority oversight. organisation, accountable to the Secretary of State. freedoms to innovate which Academies currently The long-term goal is that Academy status becomes enjoy. • Continuation of the Building Schools for the Future the norm for all schools. programme to renew or refurbish every secondary • An independent Educational Standards Authority school over fifteen years. This is complemented by a • The Secretary of State for Education would determine would hold all schools and local authorities to later commitment to a Primary Capital Programme, whether any building could be used as a school, account. which aims to renew at least half of all primary removing the decision from local planners. • A pupil premium would channel an extra £2.5 billion schools in England by 2022/23. • Anyone would be able to turn an existing building into direct to schools which take on children from deprived • New chains of schools to be set up to spread their a school without the need for planning permission, backgrounds, which would result, they say, in classes expertise and improve and transform other schools and existing schools that closed could not be approved of 20 when a child is starting primary school and within the state sector. These would receive a special for other uses without the secretary of state’s classes of 16 at secondary. kitemark for excellence. Where a significant group of approval. parents are dissatisfied with their local school • These new schools would receive the same leadership, the local authority will have to ballot all government funding as other schools in their parents on whether they want to bring in an community for every pupil they teach, with parents accredited provider, which could be a business, having the power to take their child out of a state university or educational trust. school, apply to a new Academy, and automatically • If a significant number of Year 6 parents are transfer the ‘per pupil’ funding from the old school – dissatisfied with the choice of secondary school currently around £5,000 - to the new Academy. available for their children, the local authority would • Extra capital funding, on top of the annual per pupil have to set out an action plan to deal with the funding, to fund new Academies in the most deprived situation and consider bringing in an accredited areas. The amount the state would pay for a poorer provider to take over an existing school or set up a child would be increased – a Pupil Premium – so that new one. schools would work particularly hard to attract them. • The emphasis will also continue on children’s well- • Also signalled that they aim to pare back the £55 being as well as educational standards, with multi- billion Building Schools for the Future programme, agency teams based in schools. with Michael Gove recently calling for an end to “waste” and pointing the figure at the Government’s renewal programme for schools. 3
  4. 4. HEALTH All three parties are pledging to increase accountability on public health issues at local level, with greater or lesser involvement from local authorities. Both the Conservatives and Labour also want to increase the availability of individual health care budgets, which can be used to obtain personal care. LABOUR CONSERVATIVES LIBERAL DEMOCRATS • Plan to introduce key entitlements in public services, • Want to decentralise a host of public health initiatives • Pledge to halve the size of the Department of Health including health which will be centred around a and reward councils for local improvements in, for over the next parliament and devolve funding locally. guarantee of NHS treatment within 18 weeks or a example, binge drinking, teenage pregnancy and • Would abolish Strategic Health Authorities and legal right to go private. childhood obesity. This devolution of funds would instead, local NHS trusts within a region would act represent not less than 4 per cent of the total NHS • Will give local authorities greater scrutiny powers over together to commission tertiary care. budget. all local services, including health, strengthening the • Elected Local Health Boards would replace PCTs. democratic accountability of health services. • Local directors of health would be jointly appointed These would either commission independently, with by the local authority and Primary Care Trust, but the • Want to build stronger working between local advice from the local authority, as is currently the PCT would be the body responsible for administering authorities and Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), including case, or if there is a local preference for a local the budget and partnering with local bodies such as greater freedoms to pool local budgets. Councils and authority to take on these functions, they could allow schools, councils and GPs to achieve their targets. PCTs will continue to be able to appoint joint chief this too. executives if they choose. • GPs would have the power to hold patients’ budgets • Local Health Boards would be able to stop hospital and commission care on their behalf, with GP pay • Increasing emphasis on treating and keeping people in closures and hold the NHS to account for quality of linked to the quality of outcome. A plethora of the own home. care. Over time they would assume responsibility for information would be provided on the performance of revenue and resources. • Have plans to merge PCTs in big cities, as part of the trusts, hospitals, GPs, doctors etc to enable patients Government’s £11 billion efficiency drive. to exercise choice of provider. • Patients would be able to choose their GP, and there would be greater use of direct payments and • Public health funding - channelled through local individualised budgets. authorities – would be weighted towards deprived areas. No data has been produced to demonstrate how • Would turn every NHS hospital into an employee- this would differ from the current distribution of owned trust, if that is what local people wanted. public health funds, so it is unclear if there would be a meaningful change from existing policy. 4
  5. 5. SOCIAL CARE Only one in ten local councils have made any estimate of the financial impact of an ageing population, according to the Audit Commission, despite spending on care services for older people rising by almost half to £9.1 billion in the past decade. In a report entitled Under Pressure, the Audit Commission said that if care service costs increased with the population, they could double by 2026 to £23 billion. This means that social care is bound to continue be at the heart of the election debate. LABOUR CONSERVATIVES LIBERAL DEMOCRATS • Intends to introduce a National Care Service which • Have announced that they would introduce a • Would set up a commission, with cross-party support, integrates adult social care and health to make voluntary insurance scheme to cover all fees for to develop proposals for long-term care of the elderly. services more preventative in nature. permanent residential care, in return for a one-off • Nick Clegg has said he would replace Labour’s payment of around £8,000 per person. • As a stepping stone, those with the highest needs investment in care at home with a pledge to introduce would be offered free personal care in their own home • This policy does not cover personal care in the home. a week’s guaranteed respite care for the million and there would be more investment in services to carers who care for more than 50 hours a week. • They are also working on plans for “a top-up insurance allow elderly people to continue living at home on policy for care at home”, thought to be around • Each carer would be entitled to a personal budget their own. Currently, home care is a means-tested £10,000. each year equivalent to the cost of a care homes service, with the amount people have to pay weekly charge to redeem with whichever local service determined by their local authority within national they wish. guidelines. • Over time, the intention is to introduce more personal health budgets, which are currently being trialled, with the intention that ultimately everyone who could benefit from one has the option to use one. • A new social care system could be financed in one of three ways: retirement deferred by three years to 68, with pension contributions to pay for a care fund; people could pay in instalments in the run-up to retiring at 65; or an estate levy could be deducted from the property of older people when the die (probably 10 per cent). More details are expected in a forthcoming White Paper. 5
  6. 6. LOCAL SERVICE DELIVERY EasyCouncils vs John Lewis Councils How local services are delivered is already a key battleground between Labour and the Conservatives, with a debate about the relative merits of the so-called ‘EasyCouncil’ and ‘John Lewis’ models running in the national media over recent months. Two different models stand at opposite ends of the debate: BARNET: THE EASYCOUNCIL LAMBETH: THE JOHN LEWIS COUNCIL Neither main political party has so far sought to associate itself with the Barnet model, although it seems inevitable that with the anticipated squeeze on central government • In Barnet, Conservative Mike Freer, • Championed by its Labour Leader, Cllr funding to local authorities, more and more local councils will be seeking creative ways who until recently was leader of the Steve Reed, Lambeth has rejected the to raise new revenue through charging for services. council, has set up a new agenda idea of charging extra for services, In fact, nationally both Labour and the Conservatives have advocated greater mutualism which has been coined the and is instead considering offering in public services, and some of the coverage of this debate has been slightly misleading. “EasyCouncil” model. incentives to encourage local people Recently, the Conservatives argued that public sector workers should be allowed to form to get involved in the delivery of co-operatives. According to the recent policy proposal, groups of staff would be • In essence, the idea is to supplement services themselves. empowered to set up independent co-operative enterprises which could form a joint- basic services provided by the council with additional, discretionary services • Under Cllr Reed’s plan, local people venture with outside organisations. They would take responsibility for making efficiency paid for by the individual through would be encouraged to take over savings, including staff redundancies. Labour insists that its model, currently being charges. local assets, such as community promoted in parts of the NHS, is designed to involve users of the services as well as centres, housing associations or workers. • People could choose to pay extra for primary schools. faster service, to speak to the same council official on all business or for a • Ultimately, he wants to see local premium service. people who get involved in a mutual project receiving financial rewards. • Personal budgets are held by They call it the “active community individuals with care needs dividend”. One possibility is that the • Services are redesigned with life community dividend could be a coaches helping the most vulnerable reduction in local taxes. choose packages of care and support suitable to their needs. 6
  7. 7. PLANNING One of the most controversial divides between the main parties is over the role of local authorities and regional bodies in the planning system, with Labour committed to a top- down regional approach and the Conservatives favouring local plans built up from the grass roots. LABOUR CONSERVATIVES LIBERAL DEMOCRATS • Planning authorities create long-term spatial plans for • Plan to scrap the Regional Spatial Strategies in favour • Pledged to scrap the Regional Development Agencies. how an area will develop. Once adopted, all planning of local plans. • Oppose the Infrastructure Planning Committee. decisions made by local authorities must follow the • Local people in each neighbourhood will be able to • Would ensure that council houses sold under the Right plan for the area, unless other material considerations specify what kind of development and use of land they to Buy should be replaced, with local authorities able apply. want to see in each area, and people would be able to to keep 100 per cent of the capital receipts from sales • Planning matters in a region are managed by a use lands and buildings for any purpose if it accords to invest in building new social housing in the area. regional planning body. Each regional planning body with what is set out in the local plan. • They will also make vacant public sector land has to produce a Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS), • Planning inspectors would no longer have the power to available to build 100,000 more affordable houses. which outlines the spatial plans for the area and feed rewrite local plans, as long as they comply with into the local plan. It includes matters such as how national standards, are sensibly related to many homes are needed to meet the future needs of neighbouring communities and have been developed people in the region, or whether the region needs a by a fair and proper process. new major shopping centre or airport, looking 15 to 20 • Local areas would have incentives to allocate land for years ahead. It offers areas for regeneration and affordable homes, and for business development, as expansion and lists priorities for the environment, they would keep 125 per cent of any extra council tax transport, infrastructure, economic development, paid or the increase in business rates in the area for agriculture, minerals and waste treatment and the first six years. disposal. • The new Infrastructure Planning Commission would be • The Local Development Plan is drawn up by the local wound up in favour of a specialised unit within the authority and outlines what sort of development will Planning Inspectorate. It would no longer be take place, how it will be managed and when it will independent and decisions would be referred to take place. It must conform to the region’s RSS and ministers, but there would be a deadline for enquiries. must involve the local community. • The Tories have proposed to scrap the ‘section 106’ • Committed to introducing the Community system, under which developers agree to provide Infrastructure Levy, under which developers’ planning quotas of affordable homes when they develop homes gain payments will be based on a flat-rate calculation for sale, proposing to replace this with a tariff – a rather than individual agreements negotiated on a charge levied on all developments and put towards site-by-site basis, with exemptions for affordable local infrastructure and affordable housing. housing and projects which would not otherwise proceed. • Have set up the new Infrastructure Planning Commission to determine applications for large infrastructure projects such as power stations, large windfarms and airports, according to policy documents approved by Parliament and after local consultation. 7
  8. 8. GOVERNANCE MODELS How local public services are run The way that our public services are structured and organised tends to be one of the lower profile areas of debate for all political parties, with one notable exception – directly elected mayors. However, our models of governance are what make decision making possible, at the level of the local neighbourhood, to our towns and cities and right up to the regional level. While not always visible to citizens, changes to local governance models have the potential to make a big difference to those working within local government, who are operating within a highly complex set of decision-making structures. Labour’s reforms to council governance models introduced with the Local Government Act 2000 are now largely embedded and have been judged to have improved decision making and accountability. No party is suggesting abolishing the leader-cabinet model, or scrutiny. The main areas of debate will be over how far local areas have to take account of national priorities when they set out their local priorities with their local partners, and on proposals for city and city regional governance. LABOUR CONSERVATIVES LIBERAL DEMOCRATS • Consulted on city and sub-regional governance options • Keen on directly elected mayors. Committed to • Would repeal the provisions in the Local Government (July 2009), including sub-regional mayoral options referenda on directly elected mayors in the 12 largest and Public Involvement in Health Bill limiting councils similar to the London model, but concluded that since towns and cities which have not already held mayoral to establishing an executive body with all other sub-regional governance arrangements are still referenda. councillors in a scrutiny role, as they believe that developing it will keep an open mind about new forms • It is proposed that mayors would be of the core town local leadership models should not be imposed on a of democratic accountability in the future. or city area, not the wider city region (as in London council or area. • Have attacked Tory plans to impose mayoral for example). • Particularly concerned about the routine referenda. • Have also mooted abolishing the post of Chief concentration of power in the hands of one person as • Have introduced two city region pilots (in Birmingham Executive in places that choose to introduce mayors in in the executive mayor model, and so would restore and Manchester) and Multiple Area Agreements (MAAs) order to save money. the requirement to hold a referendum before creating to support closer collaboration between councils at the post of directly elected mayor. Would also give • Have said they will allow councils to return to the local people the power to abolish the post of directly the sub-regional level. committee model of governance if local people agree elected mayor where it has been introduced. • Committed to allowing councils to create Economic in a referendum (this was replaced with the Prosperity Boards, legally recognised bodies which leader/cabinet or mayoral model by the Local • Councils that wished to could return to the committee bring together the economic development and Government Act 2000). decision-making structure. regeneration functions with integrated transport. • Have promised to move powers from regional tiers of • Would abolish Regional Development Agencies, a move government to local government . which they say would save up to £2.3 billion annually, although some funds would be reallocated to local • Will abolish all regional planning and housing powers. government. • Will abolish Government Office for London and devolve its functions to the London boroughs, the Mayor or the GLA. • Will give local authorities the power to establish local enterprise partnerships to take over the development functions of the Regional Development Agencies. 8
  9. 9. TARGETS AND FREEDOMS FROM CENTRAL CONTROLS There is agreement across the political parties of the need for a reduction in the number of targets set by central government and applied to local government. However there are differences about how radical the cuts in such targets might be. The Government has overseen a cut back in centrally-set targets in recent years, with the introduction of Local Area Agreements (LAAs) which are intended to reflect a combination of central and local priorities for an area. However the Conservatives have argued that LAAs are likely to be “eclipsed” by the Total Place programme, which attempts to pool money at a local level. LABOUR CONSERVATIVES LIBERAL DEMOCRATS • Committed to streamlining LAAs and reducing the • Committed to abolishing all ‘process targets’ applied • Scrap nationally set targets and performance number of indicators monitored by central to local authorities, requiring them instead to publish indicators, with local communities setting their own government. information about the quality and quantity of priorities and targets instead. frontline services so people can assess the absolute • Total Place pilots will quantify total burdens across • Replace the Concordat between local and central and relative performance of their council. local agencies and priorities for streamlining burdens. government with one which establishes the rights, • Will give councils more freedom to establish how they powers and responsibilities of each. Presumption that • In addition, Labour has said it will reduce the number carry out their statutory regulatory duties, reducing all public services should be delivered locally. of revenue streams to local government, publishing the burden of central guidance and enabling councils guidance on aligning and pooling local-level budgets to • Support a general power of competence for local to carry out their regulatory duties in ways which are frontline services. They are pledged to align the councils. risk-based and appropriate locally. timing and co-ordination of grant payments from departments to local authorities by 2011/12. • Will phase out ring-fencing of local government funding. • Want to continue “power of wellbeing” to allow local authorities to further the social, economic or • Will lift burdens on local government that lead to environmental well-being of its communities. funding pressures – implementing the Recently, however, some local councils found that the recommendations of the Lifting Burdens Taskforce in legislation was not permissive enough to allow them full. to set up a mutual insurance fund. The Government • Want to replace the power of well-being with a responded by introducing specific legislation to allow general power of competence, arguing that the power councils to do this. of well-being is too restrictive. Originally muted as allowing local government to take any action except raising taxes, unless it is prevented from taking that action by the common law, specific legislation or statutory guidance. More recently, however, Caroline Spelman has described this as allowing councils to do anything “legal and reasonable”, which may not be as permissive as originally billed. 9
  10. 10. ACCOUNTABILITY Inspection versus Transparency One of the fiercest areas of difference among Labour and the Conservatives in particular is about the future of local government inspection. The Government’s new inspection regime, the Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA), reported for the first time last December, but the Conservatives have already pledged to scrap it. The Conservative focus is on increased transparency instead, with requirements for councils to publish performance information which can be used by citizens to make choices about public services or hold them to account. LABOUR CONSERVATIVES LIBERAL DEMOCRATS • Reduce centrally imposed burdens on the frontline • Will abolish the Comprehensive Area Assessment • Simplify inspection, focusing on improving outcomes from reporting, inspection and assessment, co- (CAA). and service delivery. ordinating the timing of all inspections. • Role of Audit Commission will be to ensure propriety • Unconvinced by the new CAA regime. • Committed to the new CAA regime, and to publishing of public spending and investigate complaints. public service data at a neighbourhood level, which • Inspections should be risk-based. could be used to benchmark performance. • Will require councils to publish standardised information about the quality of their services online, so that citizens can easily compare performance with others. • Have pledged to publish information on-line about local spending down to items £500. • Details of local government staff earning over £58,500 will be put on line, including name and post. • Contracts and tender documents would be published in full. • Information on councillors’ expenses would be published in a standardised format so that they can be compared with other in different councils. 10
  11. 11. LOCAL TAX AND FUNDING Council tax is a highly visible tax which has been subject to criticism following steep rises in some areas in recent years. The Government’s approach has been to cap rises at 5 per cent. However CIPFA have forecast that council tax is likely to rise by an average 1.8 per cent this year – a below inflation rise that has surprised some, given the financial challenges facing local authorities. LABOUR CONSERVATIVES LIBERAL DEMOCRATS • Have rejected an overhaul of the local finance system • Plan to freeze council tax across England for two • Would scrap the Council Tax entirely and replay it in favour of a cap on council tax rises and three-year years, pledging to provide additional funding to with a local income tax, after piloting it first in some budgets for councils. councils from central government to compensate for areas. They would invite local councils to put the loss of tax income. This would be funded through themselves forward to test the scheme in the second savings in the budget of the Department for year of a Parliament. Communities and Local Government. This has been • Would return the business rates to local control. costed at £1.4 billion by the IFS (March 2010). • Would review the funding formula for local • Abolish capping, but councils which set budgets which government. need to increase tax by over the “national threshold” would have to get agreement in a referendum. • Argue that councils should be given greater power to borrow against their assets through greater use of • Would allow local councils to vary business rates. prudential borrowing. • Would review the funding settlement for local government, with Parliament agreeing the principles and an independent body setting the funding formula. • Argue that councils should be enabled to issue municipal bonds. 11
  12. 12. EFFICIENCY One recent survey by the BBC estimated that 25,000 council jobs would be lost over the next few years, as central government puts the squeeze on funding. This will increase pressure on local councils to find efficiency savings and do all they can to protect frontline services. There is a broad consensus that the Total Place pilots, designed to explore how money can be pooled between different public service providers at a local level, could provide one way of delivering savings without impairing quality, with John Denham estimating that up to £20 billion could be saved. LABOUR CONSERVATIVES LIBERAL DEMOCRATS • The Government has put in place a £5.5 billion • Total Place to become the main vehicle for securing • Total Place welcomed, but largely as a tool to secure efficiency savings target for councils to meet over the efficiency improvements. local agreement on priorities and to help decide what current spending review period, by 2011. to scrap or de-scope. • All items of expenditure over £500 to be published for • Councils are expected to joining together to buy or local scrutiny. • Reduced cost of inspection. share services – either with each other or with other • Emphasis on shared services and joint working. public sector agencies in their area. They also have to start using new technologies for cutting waste or • Reduced cost of inspection. being innovative when making purchasing decisions. • The Government is also currently piloting 'Total Place', an initiative which will identify radical changes which will allow better services to be delivered at lower cost, and demonstrate the benefits of public services working together to address customers' needs. • Pledge to support local authorities that wish to use their trading powers to create further commercial opportunities, set out guidance on the effective use of joint ventures by local authorities and their partners and consider single-area capital funding by Budget 2010. • Reduction in the number of revenue streams to local government, with a pledge to align the timing and co- ordination of grant payments from departments to local authorities by 2011/12. 12
  13. 13. LOCAL POLICING LABOUR CONSERVATIVES LIBERAL DEMOCRATS • Neighbourhood policing teams will respond to local • Would make the police more accountable to local • Increased power to police authorities. They would priorities set in beat meetings rather than national people through directly elected police commissioners, have the sole right to sack and appoint the Chief targets. who will set priorities for the policing of local areas. Constable, set local policing priorities, agree any national minimum standards, determine budgets and • A policing pledge making clear what the public can • The police would to publish detailed local crime data not have their council tax precepts capped by expect from the police with new guarantees on statistics every month, in an open and standardised Whitehall. response times; local crime information; monthly format, and ensure police teams have regular public meetings to set local priorities; and a pledge neighbourhood beat meetings. • Direct election of police authorities. Where council that your local neighbourhood team will spend at least and police force borders are the same, the council • A pledge to give local authorities and the police much 80 per cent of its time on the beat in your would be the police authority. In the other 35 police stronger power over licensing, including the power to neighbourhood. forces in England and Wales, two-thirds of members remove licences from, or refuse to grant licences to, would be elected by Single Transferable Vote and one- • More families supported by Family Intervention any premises causing problems. Councils would be third nominated by councils. Authorities would still be Projects, giving intensive hard-edged support to those able to charge more for late-night licences to pay for able to co-opt members to ensure diversity, families that need it, to tackle problems at their root additional policing. experience and expertise. and save money. • Would introduce a series of early intervention • Police command units would be aligned with council • Local authorities would have the power to ban 24 hour measures, like grounding orders. boundaries. drinking throughout a community in the interests of local people, combined with a vigorous crackdown on • Continued emphasis on neighbourhood policing. alcohol-related disorder. • 3,000 more officers on the beat across England, Wales • People to have more of a say over where CCTV is used and Scotland, paid for by scrapping ID cards. in their area. • A National Victims’ Service guaranteeing all victims of crime and anti-social behaviour referred by the police more clear, comprehensive and dedicated support, available seven days a week. • Would give local people more of a say in how offenders on Community Payback schemes repay the community for their crimes and enabling people in every area to vote online for which local community projects they wish to see worked on to increase confidence in justice being done. 13
  14. 14. This publication has been carefully prepared, but it has been written in general terms and should be seen as broad guidance only. The publication cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information contained therein without obtaining specific professional advice. Please contact BDO LLP to discuss these matters in the context of your particular circumstances. BDO LLP, its partners, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information in this publication or for any decision based on it. BDO LLP, a UK limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales under number OC305127, is a member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms. A list of members' names is open to inspection at our registered office, 55 Baker Street, London W1U 7EU. BDO LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority to conduct investment business. BDO is the brand name of the BDO network and for each of the BDO Member Firms. BDO Northern Ireland, a partnership formed in and under the laws of Northern Ireland, is licensed to operate within the international BDO network of independent member firms. Copyright ©2010 BDO LLP. All rights reserved. 'Tax Team of the Year' 2009 and 2008 'Audit Team of the Year' 2008 'Corporate Finance Deal of the Year‘ 2008 14