§ Sir Teddy Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the nature of the data rules applying to banks recently approved by the EC; what will be the cost of the measures; what benefit will stem from the rules; and if Her Majesty's Government voted for the measures.
§ Mr. Nicholas Baker
[holding answer 6 February 1995]The directive is intended to help the operation of the single market by ensuring common standards of data protection within the European Union. It is likely to require the elaboration of existing United Kingdom data protection rules and will involve their application to manual as well as computerised records. The initial proposals would have imposed substantial additional costs on the banks and other data users; modifications made to the proposals in the course of subsequent negotiations have gone a significant way to reducing those burdens.
Political agreement was reached on the directive in the Foreign Affairs Council on 6 February: the UK said that it would be abstaining when the matter is put to a formal vote, probably later this month. The UK's abstention was conditional upon, among a number of other points, the Council and the Commission expressing their agreement to greater flexibility in applying the directive to existing manual records.