HC Deb 10 March 2004 vol 418 cc1545-6W
Mr. Nicholas Brown

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in what circumstances the Government are unable to disclose the names and addresses of (a)individuals and (b)companies in receipt of direct payments under the Common Agricultural Policy; and if she will make a statement. [160168]

Alun Michael

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is bound by commercial confidentiality in its dealings with its customers, whether sole traders or farmers or corporations, breach of which by disclosing information relating to the affairs of individual traders or farmers or corporations would expose the RPA to the liability of legal proceedings in tort.

In relation to individual farmers or traders, information which is of a personal nature, such as individual payments to such persons, is personal data which is protected from voluntary disclosure under the Data Protection Act 1998. While the RPA can release global figures relating to payments, which do not identify individual persons, including corporations, it is unable to release individual figures without incurring the liabilities under the two principles referred to.

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