Regarding the small print[QQ] Nicola Walters, of the Inland Revenue (Good story but not true, 25 May, page 27), takes much the same line as Dawn Primarolo, paymaster general, did in committee to our suggestion there is a loophole in IR35 for same-sex couples.

This legislation, which is a serious assault on those operating through a personal service company, also attempts to deal with the situation where the intermediary is a partnership, instead of a company, and the husband and wife are partners. True to form, this politically correct government inserts in the interpretation section the statement that a man and a woman living together as husband and wife are to be treated as if they are married.

Our probing amendment enquired what if unmarried partners are of the same sex? Ms Walters and Ms Primarolo argue our amendment was unnecessary as there are other rules in the legislation that will have the same effect where partners of the same sex control a company or partnership. However, when challenged to say where those rules would be found, there was nothing coming from the paymaster general.

The assertion that there are rules that cover same-sex couples begs the question, why was it necessary to produce an anti-avoidance clause for a heterosexual couple but rely on rules elsewhere for same-sex couples?

Surely the same rules should cover either situation?

IR35 is a blatant attempt to change the employed/self-employed boundaries and destroy the use of personal service companies or partnerships – gays and lesbians had better read the small print.

Richard Ottaway, shadow paymaster general

Get priorities in order

There were many valid points in Teresa Graham’s piece last week (The ongoing work-life battle, page 14, 1 June) It’s interesting that if you ask partners – or business owners – why they have gone into partnership ie: why they want to own their own business – typical answers include; to gain more ‘quality’ time, be less tied to the demands of others, create more personal value, reduce bureaucracy – amongst many others.

However, the reality is that, in most cases, becoming a business owner ironically deepens the partners’ commitment meaning less ‘quality’ time and more slog.

This is not the case in all accounting practices, of course. Many understand the concept of running the practice as a business – working ON rather than IN the business.

It really is necessary to make the most of life and get our priorities in order – after all – this is not a dress rehearsal!

Michelle Davies, Eton, Berkshire


In response to Rover’s Return, (18 May, page 6) and Eleanor Greene’s response of 1 June, I wonder whether the completion of high-profile jobs in 10 days, far from being a one-off experience, is in danger of becoming the norm.

Could someone tell me why it is clever to work until 4am, when research is emphatic that we are so much less efficient at that time? And why do you agree completion dates that you know are impossible?

So, come on, you managing partners – it’s time to change the culture within your firms. If you must work long hours, make it acceptable for staff to take days off in lieu, otherwise the divorce rate will continue to rise, as will the number of children leaving home without ever seeing their fathers anything other than exhausted.

Name and address withheld


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