UK businesses should be aware that the Government are consulting on the possible release of data held by public departments, particularly, HMRC. We have reproduced extracts from a recent press release that sets out the scope of the present consultation.

 

“The data held by the public sector is among the most useful and valuable anywhere. This is why the UK Government is at the forefront in making a step change in the availability of data held by the public sector, with the potential to deliver significant public benefits.

 

… some of the customs data that HMRC holds has the potential to be used in ways which could generate real public benefits if made more widely available, without compromising the core principle of taxpayer confidentiality. In particular, the ability for HMRC to share and publish certain export data would enable HMRC to more effectively support and contribute to public and private sector initiatives to help UK exporters compete and prosper in the global market place.

 

This consultation proposes the release by HMRC of a limited set of exporter data alongside similar data that HMRC already makes available in respect of importers. Release of some exporter data would provide a number of potential benefits such as:

  • greater visibility of UK exporters to new customers in the global market place;
  • assisting developers to create exporter registers and online shop fronts to advertise and showcase UK exporters and their products;
  • enabling those who provide export services to more easily identify their customers;
  • helping importers to locate alternative UK suppliers.

 

There are likely to be further positive uses which emerge only once the data is available.”

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