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National Insurance Numbers

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the authorised uses of the national insurance number are; whether the use of the national insurance number for non-tax or non-benefit related purposes is permitted; if he will bring forward legislation to prevent the use of the number for non-tax or non-benefit related purposes; and if he will make a statement. [104520]

The National Insurance number is an internal system index number used by Inland Revenue to record and reconcile tax and National Insurance, and by the Department of Work and Pensions to pay social security benefits and pensions. National Insurance number policy is the joint responsibility of DWP and Inland Revenue.

Any exchange of information is governed by the terms of the 1998 Data Protection Act. Under certain, limited, circumstances, the national insurance number can be used for other cross-government, public interest purposes. A full list of authorised users of the National Insurance Number for non-tax or benefit purposes will be placed in the Library.

We have no plans to change the legislation relating to the use of National Insurance numbers.