The confidential details of
15 25 million child benefit claimants are reported to have been lost by HM Revenue and Customs. The BBC is reporting that HMRC's chairman, Paul Gray, has resigned.
BBC political editor Nick Robinson said he understood ministers had been aware of the problem for nine to 10 days.
Here in the ORG offices we are watching the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, make a statement on the matter to the House of Commons.
Update: The Chancellor has now made his statement to the House of Commons. It appears that the BBC under-reported the amount of people affected by this loss. Darling announced that a "password-protected" CD sent by unrecorded delivery contained details of 25 million individuals. That's just under half the population of the UK.
Details contained on the CD include:
Darling used his statement to reassure citizens that banks had been informed and were taking measures to protect their accounts. The accounts of those whose details were lost had been flagged, said Darling, and were being monitored for irregular activity. He assured UK citizens that any innocent victim of fraud would be protected under the banking code.
According to Darling, the Information Commissioner will be investigating the data protection breaches that were presumably key in leading to this blunder.