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Shout99 - Freelancers, FO35, Section 660
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Shout99 - Freelancers, FO35, Section 660
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Minister's Conference Paper generates a very 'reasoned debate'
by Richard Powell at 18:33 18/02/01 (Conference Papers)
Cabinet Office Minister, Graham Stringer MP, has responded to calls to provide a response to the debate started by his article in the site's first ever Conference Paper.

The Minister sent Shout99 the following response…

Graham Stringer MP: 'Found it extremely interesting and informative to read readers' thoughts on the article'
'When I was asked by Shout99 to write an article about IR35, I was well aware that this is an important issue that effects many small businesses.

'As part of the Government's drive to cut red tape, I regularly visit small businesses throughout the UK, to listen to their concerns about regulations and red tape and I have welcomed this opportunity to hear about concerns specific to the contractor community.

'I can't respond to all the comments that have been registered with Shout99, but have found it extremely interesting and informative to read your readers thoughts on my article.'

The response follows a steady flow of comment and debate from a number of readers as well as a formal response by Gareth Williams, PCG's Chairman. Following the recent re-design of the site, all such comments were sent directly to Minister Stringer's office via an automated system allowing him to constantly monitor the progress of the debate.

In the introduction to his piece the Minister stated:

'Regulation is a necessary part of a modern, civilised society but, although most people would accept this, it still attracts a good deal of criticism and complaint....

'As the Minister responsible for overseeing the Government's programme for reform of regulation, one of my main objectives is to dispel those myths and encourage a reasoned debate on this important issue.'

A 'reasoned debate' ensued as the page's 4,500 hits over a single week proved, with contractors taking advantage of a rare opportunity to directly ask a Government Minister questions that held specific issues for them and their businesses.

Minister Graham Stringer's response may have fallen short of addressing the many questions raised by his piece, however, it was stressed from the beginning that he would be unable to reply to each comment individually.

As one contributor to Shout99's first ever Conference Hall debate wrote…

'I would like to thank you for your contribution,' noting that, 'The tone is a world away from that of your colleague, the Paymaster General, who alienated the entire sector by casting IT consultants as 'Tax Cheats'.

This week's conference paper 'The case for using an independent consultant' has been submitted by Tony Askham, a senior partner at law firm, Bond Pearce, and PCG's solicitor for the forthcoming judicial review.

His paper can be read and commented on here.

Richard Powell

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Minister's Conference Paper ge... Richard Powell - 18/02
    ""I can't respond to all the c... combro - 19/02
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