HC Deb 24 October 1972 vol 843 cc981-2
22. Mr. Leslie Huckfield

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what studies have been made concerning the preservation of confidentiality in information exchanged with other Government Departments in the operation of future schemes for tax credits.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

Paragraph 46 of the Green Paper on the Tax-Credit scheme states that the way in which the scheme would be administered will be the subject of further detailed study, Ministers are well aware of the need to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that the customary standards of confidentiality are observed.

Mr. Huckfield

Is the hon. Gentleman aware, when he says that Ministers are already aware of the necessary steps, that his Department has already given confidential information to employers by classifying people with an H, L, or T in the new tax codes? Since Ministers are prepared to let confidential information be given away to that degree, how much confidence can people have about further possible breaches?

Mr. Jenkin

I am happy to have this opportunity to refute once again the wild and untrue allegations that have appeared in some newspapers about the HLT Scheme. The only information that could possibly be divined from that scheme is that if someone gets an H code he is entitled to the married allowance. As the hon. Member knows, in the leaflet that went out to taxpayers with the notice of coding, months before they will ever reach employers—no employer has yet had any notice of coding as a result of the HLT Scheme—it was stated in heavy type that if the taxpayer did not wish this information to be communicated to his employer, he could apply for a T—that is, a miscellaneous coding.