§ Mr. Lang
Under section 17(3) of the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act 1987, community charges registration officers have access, for the purpose of carrying out their functions, to information held by regional councils as water authorities. They have no access to information held by electricity boards or British Gas plc (Scotland), except in the unlikely event (which may also apply to regional councils as water authorities) of these bodies being "responsible persons" in relation to particular premises for community charge registration purposes. None of the bodies mentioned will have access to the community charges register beyond that provided for in section 20(2) of the 1987 Act.
§ Mr. Lang
The only cost estimates made by my right hon. and learned Friend were those contained in the explanatory and financial memorandum to the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Bill. A record of all the estimates made by local authorities and others is not held centrally.
§ Mr. Cohen
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will issue advice to Scottish local authorities to inform community charge officers that they should indicate on the forms they send to members of the public that the names and addresses of individuals which are collected in relation to the community charge can be sold or disclosed to other organisations without their consent or knowledge.
§ Mr. Lang
My right hon. and learned Friend is considering whether any restriction should be placed on the parts of the community charges register available for inspection by the public which may be made available for sale. Pending that consideration, I do not consider that formal notification to individuals of the present position on sale of the register is required. It is already made clear in the notice to be sent to registered persons informing them of their entry in the register (schedule 1 to the Community Charges (Registration) (Scotland) Regulations 1988) that certain parts of the register will be available for public inspection.