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Child Benefit: Personal Records

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 6 December 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions CDs containing personal data have been despatched to (a) other departments, (b) agencies and (c) the National Audit Office by HM Revenue and Customs in each of the last three years; and how many of those CDs were (i) encrypted and (ii) password-protected. (167681)

[holding answer 26 November 2007]: HMRC may only disclose information which it holds in accordance with the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005. Most transfers of data take place under statutory gateways which specify circumstances in which HMRC may disclose such information. All disclosures must be compliant with the Data Protection Act 1988 and the Human Rights Act 1988. Memorandums of Understanding, Partnership Agreements and Codes of Practice set out the relationship between HMRC and the department or other body receiving the data, including the specific procedures and protocols governing the use of information.

On 20 November the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC’s data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, the Chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what staff grade at HM Revenue and Customs has the (a) authority and (b) ability to (i) access the entire child benefit database and (ii) transfer data on that database to other storage devices. (167682)

[holding answer 26 November 2007]: There is an ongoing police investigation and an independent review of HMRC's security processes and procedures for data handling by Kieran Poynter, the chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The full terms of reference for that review are available on the HM Treasury website at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/newsroom_and_speeches/press/2007/press_133_07.cf.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he estimates will be the total cost to his Department of the repercussions of the loss of personal information from the Child Benefit database, including setting up the HM Revenue and Customs Child Benefit Helpline. (168118)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost to (a) Government and (b) other bodies of the loss of personal data from the Child Benefit database. (168359)

[holding answer 26 November 2007]: At this stage it is too early to provide an estimate of the cost to the Government and other bodies.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the relevant password to open the Child Benefit database was supplied with the data given by the HM Revenue and Customs to the National Audit Office. (168709)

[holding answer 27 November 2007]: It would be inappropriate for me to provide information relating to this issue at this stage as there is an ongoing police investigation.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the personal details lost by HM Revenue and Customs, how many of those affected were (a) adults and (b) children, broken down by sex. (168787)

[holding answer 27 November 2007]: The missing information contains details of child benefit records for 25 million individuals, 9.5 million adult claimants, 15.5 million children and 7.25 million families.

A breakdown of the requested information by gender could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the personal details lost by HM Revenue and Customs, how many of those affected were (a) adult and (b) children in North West Cambridgeshire constituency, broken down by sex. (168798)

[holding answer 27 November 2007]: The missing information contains details of all child benefit recipients, including those in North West Cambridgeshire.

Information on families receiving child benefit at 31 August 2006 by constituency are published as part of National Statistics and can be found in tables 1a, 2 and 3 of Child Benefit Statistics Geographical Analysis which are available on HMRC’s website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/child_benefit/geog-aug06.pdf

A breakdown of the requested information by gender could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many of those whose data was lost by HM Revenue and Customs were (a) adults and (b) children of each sex in (i) Southend West constituency, (ii) Southend and (iii) Essex. (169421)

The missing information contains details of all child benefit recipients, including those in Southend West constituency, Southend and Essex.

Information on families receiving child benefit at 31 August 2006 by constituency and local authority are published as part of National Statistics and can be found in Tables 1a, 2 and 3 of child benefit statistics geographical analysis which are available on HMRC’s website at:

http//www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/child_benefit/geog-aug06.pdf

A breakdown of the requested information by gender could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what sanctions he has (a) taken and (b) plans to take against the HM Revenue and Customs official who posted two compact discs containing confidential child benefit information; what grade the official is; and if he will make a statement. (169430)

It would be inappropriate to comment on this issue as there is an ongoing investigation being conducted by the police.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many child benefit claimants in (a) Uxbridge constituency and (b) the London borough of Hillingdon are affected by the loss of bank account details by HM Revenue and Customs. (171090)

The missing information contains details of all child benefit recipients, including those in Uxbridge and the London borough of Hillingdon.

Information on families receiving child benefit at 31 August 2006 by constituency and local authority is published as part of National Statistics and can be found in Tables 1a and 2 of Child Benefit Statistics Geographical Analysis which are available on HMRC's website at

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/child_benefit/geogaug06.pdf.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many of those whose data was lost by HM Revenue and Customs were (a) adults and (b) children resident in (i) Ribble Valley constituency and (ii) Lancashire; and how many families this represents. (171370)

The missing information contains details of all child benefit recipients including those from Ribble Valley and Lancashire.

Information on families receiving child benefit at 31 August 2006 by constituency and local authority is published as part of National Statistics and can be found in Tables 1a and 2 of Child Benefit Statistics Geographical Analysis which are available on HMRC's website at

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/child_benefit/geogaug06.pdf.