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Treasury ‘must do more’ on WGA

The National Audit Office (NAO) has expressed doubts about the Whole of Government Accounts (WGA) in a new report, as the third set of accounts is published today.

The 2011/12 accounts have been produced more speedily and measures to reduce the deficit are starting to have an impact, the report found.

However, the Comptrollor and Auditor General criticised the exclusion of Network Rail and publicly owned banks, which are not designated as public sector companies by the Treasury.

Additionally the WGA is still not being produced fast enough and should be delivered within nine months of the year end. The lack of detail “inhibits its usefulness”, the report states, and the “underlying data is not yet good enough to allow improvements to be made”.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: “The Whole of Government Accounts is a key means through which Parliament and the public can hold government to account for the money it spends and the activities it undertakes.

“If the WGA is to achieve its full potential, the Treasury must do more – such as using accounting standards to decide whether publicly owned and controlled bodies should be included in the accounts. By this measure, Network Rail and the publically owned banks would be included. The Treasury should also work further to raise the profile of the WGA within government and ensure it is used more effectively to help decision-making.” 

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