Tax Boss Quits After Records Vanish

Extracted from SKY NEWS
Wednesday, November 2, 2007

Two crucial CDs containing 25 million people’s personal details have gone missing, the Chancellor has admitted.


The chairman of HM Revenue and Customs Paul Gray has quit as the country’s top tax man over the matter.

The Metropolitan Police are “making inquiries” into the blunder and Alistair Darling has made a statement to the Commons.

They went missing after they were sent by TNT courier.

“The missing information contains details of all Child Benefit recipients: records for 25 million individuals and seven and a quarter million families,” he told MPs.

He also revealed that the missing discs contain personal data including the names, National Insurance and bank details of millions of child benefit recipients.

It means that the personal details of every family in the country with a child under 16 have gone missing.

Mr Darling told the Commons: “I regard this as an extremely serious failure by HMRC in their responsibility to the public.”

In a letter to HMRC staff, Mr Gray said: “I am announcing today that I will be standing down as HMRC Chairman as a result of a substantial operational failure in the Department.

“This is not the way I would have planned to organise my departure from HMRC.”

The Prime Minister has expressed his “full confidence” in the Chancellor of the Exchequer but Sky News’ Political Editor Adam Boulton said the implications for the Treasury were very serious.

Brown expressed

Brown expressed “full confidence” in Darling

“I would expect this afternoon that from some quarters we will hear suggestions that Alistair Darling should resign, and his position has already been damaged by the Northern Rock crisis.”

Conservative member of the House of Commons Treasury Committee Michael Fallon told Sky News Alistair Darling was in a precarious position.

“It will underline the growing feeling that we have a new chancellor who is not up to the job,” he said.

Lib Dem leadership contender Chris Huhne said he was “flabbergasted” at the situation.

“It is a breach of trust and it is quite right that one head has a rolled, but if ministers knew about this, if they knew about the security problems, I’m afraid ministerial heads will have to roll as well.”

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