Even accountants find Milton Keynes boring

Roger Trapp
Tuesday 31 March 1998 23:02 BST

EFFORTS to spice up the reputation of Milton Keynes, famous for its grid system of roads and herd of concrete cows, appear to have failed.

Even accountants are turning their noses up at the Buckinghamshire new town. Half of the staff in the regulatory unit of the UK's leading accountancy body are leaving the organisation rather than relocate.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales has admitted it is struggling to carry out its regulatory duties because nearly half of the staff with responsibilities in this area do not want to move.

Members of the ICA council will hear today that as of the end of last year 20 members of the Practice Regulation Directorate and Joint Monitoring Unit head office staff - 43 per cent of the total - had indicated they did not want to transfer to the town, where the City of London-based organisation has long had a second office.

Paul Griffiths, assistant director of business development for the Commission for the New Towns, said that it was the idea of moving, and not Milton Keynes, that was responsible for the accountants' exodus. "I don't think this is an indictment of Milton Keynes at all. Obviously it's disappointing that they weren't able to come, but they probably would not have wanted to move anywhere."

Mr Griffiths said Milton Keynes was the "fastest-growing area, without a doubt, in the last 20 years." From 1981 to 1995, the town had experienced 69 per cent employment growth.

The proposed relocation is part of a reorganisation, due to be completed soon. In his annual report to council, Keith Woodley, the chairman of the Milton Keynes office, says steps are being taken to minimise the impact, adding that the momentum of regulatory work in the profession has been maintained only with some difficulty because several staff who did not want to move have already left.

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