The news of the appalling breach of data protection at HMRC which has led to 25m people being exposed to potential identity fraud will have a massive impact on families across Chatham & Aylesford. The Chancellor was forced to admit that his Revenue & Customs Agency have lost in the post disks containing details of 25m child benefit claimants raising huge questions about the safety and security of personal information. The latest statistics show that in Medway nearly 34,000 families claim benefit for nearly 61,000 children, and in Tonbridge & Malling there are 15,000 families claiming benefit for over 26,000 children. That means tonight nearly 50,000 families across the region will be worryingly checking their bank accounts to make sure they have not been subject to fraud.
The Chairman of HMRC has rightly resigned but despite the Chancellor learning about this – the largest breach of data protection ever – 10 days ago, the public have only now been alerted to the problem and by all accounts as a result of the media finding out, rather than the Chancellor coming forward first.
This is a catastrophic failure but highlights why a database for ID cards, which will store an immense amount of information on each and everyone of us, cannot be trusted in the hands of Government.