British Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly has admitted that a government contractor has lost personal data belonging to three million student drivers.

Kelly told parliament Monday that a private contractor reported in May that a hard drive containing the names, addresses and other details of the would-be drivers were lost in the midwestern U.S. state of Iowa. She said the disc went missing from a storage facility but did not contain bank account or credit card information.

Last month, in another case, British Finance Minister Alistair Darling revealed that the country's tax authority had misplaced two computer discs containing the banking records and personal information of 25 million people.

Darling admitted the incident was a serious failure by Britain's Revenue and Customs authority.

He said officials lost track of the discs after sending them to a government audit office through the postal system, but that there is no evidence to suggest the information has fallen into the wrong hands.

The head of the tax authority, Paul Gray later resigned over the disappearance.

Opposition conservatives have accused the government of exposing half the population of Britain to the threat of identity fraud.

The discs contain details of more than seven million families who receive child welfare benefits. The information includes names, addresses, national insurance numbers and banking information.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.