Speaking in the House of Commons, Smith said that having invited comments on the Carter Review of Payroll Services by the end of this month it would be ‘inappropriate’ to express a view on specific aspects of it now.
But, replying to a question from Liberal Democrat shadow chief secretary Edward Davey, he recalled that chancellor Gordon Brown had described the Carter proposals as ‘a challenging but attractive package of measures’.
The review, which proposed a series of measures to aid small business, was undertaken by Patrick Carter, a businessman and member of the government’s public services productivity panel and was released as part of the November pre-Budget report.
Carter was appointed in June to review how payroll services among smaller businesses could be improved.
Other recommendations include greater use of IT to enable businesses to deal with complex payroll arrangements.
He also recommending large companies file electronically by 2004, with smaller businesses to follow suit by 2007.
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