Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th May 1959.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the result of his inquiries into methods of contracting for, and disposing of, confidential waste documents.
The arrangements for disposal of confidential waste paper, including Income Tax returns, are designed to ensure that it is pulped at a British mill under conditions which preserve its confidentiality. In the case of the Income Tax returns found by the hon. Gentleman on Cardiff dock, it is clear that the stipulated rules were not complied with, and investigations are proceeding. But the incident has Shown that the present system can be improved, and my right hon. Friend has therefore set in train a review of the arrangements in the Departments concerned. My right hon. Friend is grateful to the hon. Gentleman for calling his attention to this matter.
That is satisfactory as far as it goes. Has this procedure been criticised before by firms in the industry, and has that criticism been brought to the notice of those responsible for issuing the contracts? If that is so, can the Financial Secretary tell us why action was not taken before I found these papers?
I made inquiries about that and I was told that no criticisms before this incident were received by the Headquarters Contract Department at the Post Office. Since then, I have seen a letter criticising the present ararngements, and I do not doubt that they leave something to be desired.
Is it not possible to find another word to express what my hon. and learned Friend means by "confidentiality "?