just as a retort on the comments about Spanish efficiency - just try getting some sense out of UK businesses or worse still UK government offices. SWMBO is still paying NI to maintain her pension rights but because she works only 9 months of the year, she has to tell HMRC how much she has worked in the UK financial year (April 6th to April 5th) and produce a copy of her contracts for them to tell her how much she has to pay. A letter gets sent from us a few days into the new financial year stating how much she has worked during the financial year just finished for them to tell her how much she has to pay. Last year after a couple of months wait for a reply, she got an answer which was hopelessly wrong so another letter was sent saying what we thought it should be. Two month wait and back came the reply saying that what we had submitted was correct.
This year, seeking to avoid the problem from last year, the letter was sent from us on 7th April, setting out what we thought the amount should be. - - We are still waiting for a reply from HMRC! Phoning numbers that are either not answered or constantly engaged or sending an email (sorry but you have to write in) is just as frustrating.