The SNP Government is being urged to come clean about whether controversial plans for a super ID data base of all Scots have been “quietly shelved.”
The Liberal Democrats say a series of parliamentary questions have met with “deafening silence” almost a year after the plans came to light.
The plans would see the NHS central register (NHSCR) extended, allowing 120 public bodies to obtain certain information from it. John Swinney has insisted the only change being made to the register, which has existed since the 1950s, is the addition of individuals’ postcodes and rejects claims of a super ID data base.
Lib Dem justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes said: “The ministerial responses to the questions I’ve asked are so deafening in their silence you’d think the plans had been quietly shelved. It’s becoming practically a monthly occurrence – I question John Swinney and he barely responds.
“Perhaps the SNP has taken the advice of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, privacy experts and specialist bodies and decided not to force through these proposals.
“It has been almost a year since ministers published their proposals, ones we believe could lead to identity cards being introduced in this country.
“The Deputy First Minister’s silence must be broken with an answer to this question – has he scrapped plans for a super ID database?”
The proposal would see public bodies allowed to access data through an individual’s NHS number, including HMRC for tax purposes. Everyone born in Scotland or registered with a GP north of the Border has a Unique Citizen Reference number held in the NHSCR.
Mr Swinney said in response to Holyrood questions that feedback from a government consultation on the database plans will be published.
“I will provide to Parliament in due course an analysis of responses and how we intend to proceed,” he said.
“Any proposals regarding legislation would be set out at that stage. Discussions continue to take place with relevant public sector bodies in relation to the online services that they offer or plan to offer.”