§ Mr. Greville Janner
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether Her Majesty's Government will introduce legislation to require the Inland Revenue to forward or redirect mail from relatives of missing persons seeking to trace them while maintaining full confidentiality; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Ridley
[pursuant to his reply, 3 March 1983, c. 210]: While its strict rules of confidentially prevent the Inland Revenue from disclosing the whereabouts of third parties, it is already its practice to assist, where possible, by forwarding or redirecting mail from relatives who are seeking to trace missing persons. The Revenue's ability to help will depend cruicially upon the accuracy of the information given to it and on whether it can match it with its own local records. It cannot, on grounds of administrative cost, provide an open-ended forwarding or redirecting service, but within reasonable bounds it does its best to assist. By passing on communications the Revenue does not accept any responsibility in the matter and will advise the addressee that his address has not been disclosed to the person who has asked it to forward the communication.
In view of this, I cannot accept that legislation would be either necessary or, indeed, desirable.