House of Commons shocked over HMRC scandal!

November 26, 2007 4:03 PM

HMRC lost disks with personal and banking data of 25 million people

Cheadle Constituency MP Mark Hunter has added his voice to back those concerned by the announcement this week that HMRC have lost the personal and banking details over 25 million parents and children.

The House of Commons listened in stunned disbelief to an announcement that the Government's Revenue and Customs department (HMRC) had posted two disks containing private information about 25 million people taken from their Child Benefit database. The information was lost in the post and could be in the hands of fraudsters.

The security breach occurred whilst Government is gearing up to introduce compulsory ID cards and a National Identity Register, and after other similar data losses. In March 2007 a junior official at HMRC gave the National Audit Office a full copy of the HMRC's child benefit data, which was only later safely returned. In September records of 15,000 people went missing after being sent by HMRC to Standard Life, in the same month a laptop containing customer details from around 400 ISA (individual saving accounts) was stolen.

Commenting after the announcement by the Chancellor, Mark Hunter MP said: "In my two and a half years in the House of Commons I have to say I have never seen people more shocked as MPs on all sides were by this unprecedented statement.

"25 million people have suffered an unacceptable loss of privacy and they must now be at serious risk of identity fraud and theft. Private companies and charities manage to keep personal data secret and secure and yet Government, who made the rules in the first place, is apparently totally incapable of ensuring that data is held securely.

"This whole saga of incompetence has been shocking and it is not the first time such security breaches have occurred. I do not think the Government can truthfully assure us that it will not happen again, their plans to introduce ID Cards must now be in serious jeopardy.

"In fact, I believe, the chance of data being lost will increase with the introduction of ID cards and the National Identity Register, which will hold vastly more information on each and every one of us. The possibilities for the loss of that information, either accidentally or through illegitimate means must make the Government stop and think again very seriously about their plan to store all the data they can on us on a central register.

"In light of HMRC's security breach I really would advise all constituents to be extremely vigilant. Check your bank accounts and report any suspicious behaviour to your bank immediately."

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