Clause 9

Part of National Insurance Contributions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:15 am on 9th December 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Kelvin Hopkins Kelvin Hopkins Labour, Luton North 9:15 am, 9th December 2010

I have some points about record keeping. I am sure that I am not alone among hon. Members in having constituents come to me with problems with HMRC, and indeed other institutions, because of a failure to keep records or bad advice from bookkeepers  or even, sometimes, accountants. I am concerned on this point because instructions about record keeping should be precise so that small business people, who are not necessarily sophisticated in administrative matters, know what they must do to keep proper records. I hope that HMRC will ensure that its records are correct, too. Again, I am sure I am not alone in having had a ping-pong exchange of correspondence in the past with constituents with small businesses and HMRC over a disagreement about information about something that has happened where proper records have not been kept.

Records must be kept by the business people concerned. Often small business people in, say, the building industry are not trained in administration—indeed, I am not a trained accountant, and I dread the thought of having to administer a small business myself—so we must provide clear instructions and advice about the requirements. On a different point, I may be a bit of a dinosaur but I like paper records as well as electronic records.