I include this piece almost for its novelty value, because Kuldip Kaur’s problem was so bizarre and it was a first for me.

Kuldip wrote, on an email entitled Help! (and with more screamers! than I have space for): “I’m having a problem concerning my national insurance number. I have been in the retail business for the past 26 years. It started in 2010 when my tax form came through the post and it stated the wrong national insurance number. I rang the tax office and they said I was given a temporary national insurance number. To me this was ridiculous.

“I contacted my accountant and he wrote letters and emails to the tax department, stating who I was and that I knew my national insurance number. The following year, it happened again, so I did the same thing and contacted them, and this year the same thing happened again! My accountant has been in touch again and they won’t allow him to correct it!

“This is affecting my pension and I have been through every avenue and I don’t know what to do. Can you please help me?”

Her frustration is palpable. Sometimes, the answer is so simple. The left hand doesn’t know (or doesn’t want to know) what the right hand is doing. She had been in touch with the wrong department and no one bothered to tell her this.

I advised Kuldip to contact the Department for Work and Pensions, which actually issues the numbers.

She did this and it has been sorted.