No depreciation is charged on freehold land, leasehold land with over 100 years to expiry, and assets in the course of construction. Depreciation is calculated for all other assets to write off the cost or valuation, less residual value, in equal annual instalments over their expected useful life, at the following rates:
Freehold and long leasehold buildings – 2% to 4%
Other leaseholds – over the remaining period of the lease
Buildings fixtures – 2.5% to 10%
Fixtures and fittings (including vehicles and IT equipment) – 10% to 33%
Property residual values are assessed as the price in current terms that a property would be expected to realise, if the buildings were at the end of their useful economic life. The assets’ residual values and useful lives are reviewed at least at each balance sheet date.
Assets used by the group which have been funded through finance leases on terms that transfer to the group substantially all the risks and rewards of ownership are capitalised at the inception of the lease at the fair value of the leased asset or, if lower, at the present value of the minimum lease payments. Lease payments are apportioned between finance charges and reduction of the lease liability so as to achieve a constant rate of interest on the remaining balance of the liability. The interest element of finance lease rentals is charged to the income statement. Capitalised leased assets are depreciated over the shorter of the estimated useful life of the asset or the lease term.
Leases where the group does not retain substantially all the risks and rewards of ownership of the asset are classified as operating leases. Operating lease rental payments, other than contingent rentals, are recognised as an expense in the income statement on a straight-line basis over the lease term.
Lease premiums and inducements are recognised in current and non-current assets accordingly, and amortised on a straight-line basis over the lease term.
Sub-lease income is recognised as income on a straight-line basis over the sub-lease term, less allowances for situations where recovery is doubtful.
The charge for current income tax is based on the results for the year as adjusted for items which are not taxed or are disallowed. It is calculated using tax rates in legislation that has been enacted or substantively enacted by the balance sheet date.
Deferred income tax is accounted for using the balance sheet liability method in respect of temporary differences arising from differences between the tax bases of assets and liabilities and their carrying amounts in the financial statements. Deferred tax arising from the initial recognition of an asset or liability in a transaction, other than a business combination, that at the time of the transaction affects neither accounting nor taxable profit or loss, is not recognised. In principle, deferred tax liabilities are recognised for all taxable temporary differences and deferred tax assets are recognised to the extent that it is probable that taxable profits will be available against which deductible temporary differences can be utilised.
Deferred tax is calculated at the tax rates that are expected to apply to the period when the asset is realised or the liability is settled. Deferred tax is charged or credited in the income statement, except when it relates to items credited or charged directly to shareholder’s equity, in which case the deferred tax is also dealt with in shareholder’s equity.
Goodwill represents the excess of the cost of a business combination over the group’s share of the fair value of identifiable net assets of the business acquired at the date of acquisition. Prior to February 1998 goodwill arising on the acquisition of subsidiaries was written off to reserves at the time of acquisition. The group has taken the IFRS 1 exemption in respect of the treatment of goodwill and, accordingly, goodwill on previous acquisitions has not been restated.