The chairman of the UK Inland Revenue Commissioners has stepped down from his position after it emerged that confidential data, containing information on 25 million child benefit recipients, went missing.
The departure of Paul Gray was prompted by an operational failure at the Inland Revenue that led to the massive loss of private data.
It is believed that the records, which are contained on two discs, contain names, addresses, dates of birth and bank accounts.
The Inland Revenue says it does not believe the information has fallen into the wrong hands.
In a statement this afternoon, British Chancellor Alastair Darling said the discs were sent to the National Audit Agency by unrecorded delivery.
He described the breach as “an extremely serious failure”.
UK banks say the information contained on the discs was insufficient to access bank accounts and that no fraud has been detected.
By John Kennedy