Even worse than I thought[QQ] In response to Jim Allpass’s letter (FDs must visit Dome first, page 21, 14 September), I did recently go to see the Dome.

I went with very low expectations and was gob-smacked. It was far more puerile than I imagined!

It may be okay for undiscerning kids but Disney did it all so much better in Epcot Centre in Florida.

What an appalling waste of money and as for the Body Zone – unbelievably pathetic!

Just let it go bust and be bulldozed.

Malcolm Fillmore, Partner, Benedict Mackenzie

Can the Dome be turned?

I must take issue with the letter FDs must visit Dome first, (page 21, 14 September).

We are almost three quarters through 2000 and the Dome’s reason for construction.

The main school holidays are over and those people who really wanted to visit the attraction would have been long ago. This would suggest the attendance figures are now likely to drop. (Despite discounting ticket prices to certain occupations.)

The Dome has now been issued with a further #7m taking the total spend to £946m.

Does Mr Allpass really believe the fortunes of the Dome can still be turned around or should we stop attempting to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear?

Malcolm Doody, ACMA, FC, Estimation Ltd

Jumping to conclusions

Elizabeth MacKay spoils her topical article (Coming clean about small company audits, page 14, 14 September) with assertions that auditors pay lip service and fiddle small company audits.

If she knows firms that plug the stock figures and still sign unqualified audit reports, Ms MacKay has a duty to report cases to the professional bodies and the JMU.

As a registered auditor who has reported on numerous small companies over the last 20 years, I strongly resent the inference that improper audits are the norm.

There may well be a few unscrupulous auditing practitioners still around.

I know of one firm in particular where the JMU reviewed and had appeared to turn a blind eye to almost non-existent auditing procedures on a small audit client with a clean report.

This was a rare case that generated an investigated complaint. Cost effective auditing has developed greatly over recent years. It is sadly true that bank managers generally still do not appreciate the true nature and meaning of the audit report but that is due to their own training.

However, for Ms MacKay to have made such a general and unsubstantiated slur against the whole auditing profession was a monstrous insult that she should withdraw unequivocally.

Does Ms MacKay hold any relevant qualifications to make such judgement?

I frankly doubt it.

Clive Wilkinson, via e-mail

Credit where credit’s due

The article ‘Taking on the powers that be’ (page 8, 21 September) rightly notes that the battle against IR35 was orchestrated via the web.

In fact it is probably the first example of a campaign which was almost entirely web based. It is a pity, however, that the article failed to give credit to the organisation which set the pace.

The campaign by contractors was built around the Professional Contractors Group’s site (www.pcgroup. ). It was through the web that over 2000 IT and engineering contractors came together, through their shared concern over the impact of the IR 35 proposals, to form the PCG in May 1999.

Since then, through its web-based discussion forums, lobbying activities and services such as tax expense and PI insurance, the PCG has become the fastest growing representative organisation with nearly 10,000 contractor members and over 225 associate members drawn from the ranks of agencies, accountants and lawyers.

Kevin Miller, FD, Professional Contractors Group Limited

Unusual animal, bet the skin’s expensive

A recent item in Accountancy Age (Exotic kids’ clothes that are tax free, Taking Stock, 7 September) reminds me of an episode in 1975 when the then Labour government was introducing a higher rate of VAT.

Late at night, the Conservative spokesman, Sir Peter Rees, was becoming a little bored with proceedings at the committee stage, and was pondering a long list of clothing items manufactured from various skins, the vast majority of which he had never heard – all to be subjected to the new impost.

With a twinkle in his eye, he stood up and enquired why clothes made of xxxx (after a quarter of a century, I don’t recall the precise detail) were not included in the list. There was consternation on the government side.

The minister turned to his aides for assistance, but blank faces all round. ‘Would the honourable member for Dover please give details of the xxxx – where does it come from?’

‘Does the minister not know? I was walking past Harrods this morning, and I definitely saw an item manufactured of this exotic skin.’ With that, he sat down.

There was no time to send a civil servant to take a look, and so the xxxx was duly added to the list.

And there, until the higher rate of tax was abolished a few years later by the Conservative government, remained the name of a totally non-existent animal.

James Dixon, via e-mail

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