The Daily Telegraph

Accounting watchdog goes to Birmingham

- By Simon Foy

THE new accounting watchdog is set to be based in Birmingham, as ministers continue to move officials out of London to regional cities.

Under plans overseen by Lord Callanan, the business minister, around 200 staff at the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (Arga) will be based in Birmingham when the new beefed-up regulator is establishe­d.

The creation of Arga is at the centre of government reforms to shake up the accountanc­y industry and will replace the Financial Reporting Council, which is currently based in the City of London. Arga is not expected to be in place until 2024 at the earliest.

The majority of Arga’s staff are expected to be based in Birmingham in due course. The FRC currently has around 400 employees.

The move to Birmingham, which was first reported by the Financial Times, comes as the Government plans a big shake-up of Whitehall by shifting thousands of civil servants out of London and cutting the overall size of the civil service, which swelled hugely in the wake of Covid and Brexit.

Ministers want to move 22,000 staff out of the capital by 2030 as part of the drive to move decision makers to left-behind areas. The Treasury is moving more than 1,000 civil servants to Darlington, County Durham.

A government spokesman said: “The establishm­ent of Arga is a key pillar of the Government’s audit regime overhaul to restore trust in big business.”

The FRC declined to comment.

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