HC Deb 18 May 1971 vol 817 cc1054-5
3. Mr. Leslie Huckfield

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what amount and detail of 1966 Census information has been obtained and employed by the Inland Revenue services; and to what uses such data were put.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

The Statistics and Intelligence Division of the Inland Revenue obtains a considerable amount of statistical information from the Registrar-General's Office, but always within the rules governing the confidentiality of the Registrar-General's figures.

Mr. Huckfield

That is the answer I expected.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I do not think that the House can tolerate comments on the Minister's answer. Hon. Members must ask a supplementary question. That is the second time today we have had a comment.

Mr. Huckfield

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that is the answer I expected? Is he also aware that certain categories of information may have been obtained by the Inland Revenue which were not normally obtainable by other Government Departments? What precise safeguards were put on the confidentiality of that kind of information?

Mr. Jenkin

The Inland Revenue gets no more information from the Registrar-General than is available not only to other Government Departments but to anyone outside the Government—the details of particular population areas and so on. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman was misled by the headline to an article in The Guardian a few weeks ago. I do not criticise the article. It was accurate and restrained. But the headline used the words "secrets", which was misleading and some may have thought mischievous.

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