KPMG

One of the effects of getting old is increasing scattiness …

In some people’s view, accountancy firms do more harm than good. But at least one of the Big Four British accountancy firms, KPMG, has a use. As someone pointed out, it is a mnemonic worth reciting as you leave your house: Keys, Phone, Money, Glasses.

I am unlikely to forget my glasses. Unlike many oldies, I am short-sighted, and would immediately notice if I went out without having them on my face. Still, it does no harm having the reminder there. I don’t have a phone, but fortunately there is a convenient substitute: Pass. This is the thing I am most likely to forget. I keep my bus pass in my shirt pocket, and when I change my shirt I am quite likely to forget to pick it up and put it in the new pocket. I did just that today, which is why this is in my mind – I had a meeting in the centre of town. Fortunately, London is a walkable city.

The government (and others, including the Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London last time round) keep threatening to take our bus passes away, to save a bit of money in these austere times. In fact, I don’t think it is quite so simple. I am sure that, since it is so easy, old people get out and about more than they otherwise would; I am also sure that this is good for them. So there is probably a substantial saving to the health service (and indeed, the increasing cost of healthcare for the elderly is one of the serious problems).

Clearly, the government have not taken a holistic approach to this. The post here may be good reading for them (as well as pointing to one of the more intriguing titles for an academic paper I have come across recently).

It surely can’t be beyond these people on huge salaries and bonuses to produce an accounting system which would properly account for things like this.

Over to you, KPMG …

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About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.
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3 Responses to KPMG

  1. Here in Canada there is no such thing as a free bus pass for the over 65s, even in big cities where it may actually be useful.

    Instead, there is a different issue of concern: a profusion of elderly motorists. Every so often, there’s a news story about an 80-something-year-old who has demolished the front of a coffee shop by accidentally stepping on the accelerator instead of the brake, getting pulled over by the police for driving at a “safe” 35mph along a motorway, or bemoaning their sudden loss of independence when their GP has refused to sign their licence renewal.

    If those people had free use of public transport, it would help people maintain their independence—while letting younger people do the driving.

    • When I went to Ottawa in 2009, the man selling tickets at the train station in Dorval gave me a discount because I looked like a senior – he didn’t even ask to see a card!

  2. An interesting take on the very last point, from the London Reconnections blog. They are discussing a “half-time report” by the National Audit Office on the Thameslink project. At one point the author, Pedantic of Purley, says:

    “One peculiarity about the way the [benefit/cost ratio] is calculated is that it actually takes into account the loss of revenue to the treasury as a result of the reduction of receipts of fuel tax due to people changing mode of travel from car to train. This does seem quite extraordinary. Either fuel tax is a specific tax intended to discourage use of cars (or more accurately oil to power vehicles) or it is a general tax with the sole intention of raising revenue for the chancellor. If it is the former then it is quite absurd that rail projects that reduce oil use are penalised for achieving the objective laid down. If it is the latter then it is madness that the cost benefit analysis of a project depends on the arbitrary way that the chancellor chooses to apportion his revenue streams and not on the project itself. It is the modern equivalent of the 1960′s argument that smoking was a good thing because it provided tax revenue for the government.”

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