HC Deb 21 January 2003 vol 398 cc246-7W
Norman Lamb

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many breaches of the Data Protection Act there have been in respect of tax information supplied by taxpayers to the Inland Revenue; how many taxpayers are affected; whether an investigation has taken place in respect of such breaches; how many Inland Revenue staff have been involved in such breaches; and what reports he has received as to which agencies such information was sold. [92361]

Mr. Boateng

There are only two known instances of Inland Revenue staff selling information about taxpayers. Two Inland Revenue employees did so in 1994 to a debt collection agency, and one employee sold information in 1996 to a solicitor. All three were dismissed from the Department and jailed. In relation to the Data Protection Act, there will also from time to time be technical and unintended breaches of the Act in an organisation as large as the Inland Revenue.

The Inland Revenue take very seriously both their general duty of confidentiality and the particular need to comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act.