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Level out the playing field for self-employed


Sir, I agree with the comments of Mr D Wheeler that the only fair way to deal with the situation of 'self-employment' in the building industry is to increase the National Insurance contributions ('Tax test will be disaster', Letters, September 2).

We have a medium-sized carpentry construction company and have adhered to all the laws.

Most of our workers are employed by us, we run the stakeholder pension scheme and we have made sure that all our operatives hold CSCS cards (though no one has so far asked to see any of them).

On most of the sites we work on the majority of the other people working there are doing so on a 'self-employed' basis through other companies.

Last year we had a PAYE review with the Inland Revenue, which was satisfied that our company was complying with the laws. I brought up at that meeting that I was very unsatisfied with how the matter of self-employment was being policed and was told that the Revenue did not have the manpower to go round sites to look into the matter.This is a very, very unfair system.

A few weeks ago we placed an advertisement in a national newspaper for carpenters. I was not able to answer the phone and had to let it go to the answer machine.We had over 400 phone calls on that one day and most of them were from foreign nationals all with the CIS self-employment cards.How do they get them so easily?

Before any decisions are reached on this matter, the Inland Revenue needs to go out into the real world.

There should be a system in place that is fair, and that would enable most people to be on a level playing field, which it certainly is not at the moment.

Francis Watkins by email