With regard to the proposals to enable HMRC to share data more widely and to the e mails I am currently receiving from the 38 degrees campaign, I certainly appreciate the concerns that some people and organisations such as ‘Big Brother Watch' and the Chartered Institute of Taxation have expressed about the Government's proposals, which would remove HMRC's legal constraints on sharing data and allow the release of non-financial VAT registration data.
As I am sure you are aware, HMRC consulted on this last summer and the Government have now stated that they plan to go ahead with these proposals and will introduce legislation to do so shortly.
I know there is very real concern about this - indeed, more than 260,000 people have signed a petition opposing the Government's plans. Many people are also understandably concerned about the Government's wider plans to increase data sharing in the public sector, including in the NHS through the Care.data database.
I would be very concerned if the Government put anything forward that could compromise the privacy of individuals simply complying with their tax obligations. I also believe that there needs to be very clear safeguards in place to ensure that personal data is not misused and so that public confidence is retained.
That is why I believe that it is vital that the Government urgently and clearly now set out their plans for the sharing of HMRC data and that they listen and respond to the concerns that have been raised about this proposal.
I can assure you that I will continue to follow this issue closely and I thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.
Karen Buck MP