David Pickup’s letter on swear fees reminded me about a conference I attended some 10 years ago. There was a panel who invited questions. On the panel was a senior civil servant from what is now the Ministry of Justice. I had the temerity to ask him a question.

He readily confirmed that there had been no increase in swear fees since 1993. I then asked if there was any likelihood of an increase. He said that there were no plans within his department to consider the matter. I asked him if he had received a pay increase in the previous 12 years, only to be told that I was being impertinent.

As Mr Pickup correctly points out, there has been no increase in the last 23 years. However, you can be certain that the civil servant in question has now retired on an extremely generous pension, which we are all paying for.

Chris Cope, Accountants National Complaint Services Ltd, Kings Nympton, Devon