Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ID Cards Bill Up 13% in Seven Months

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ID Cards Bill Up 13% in Seven Months

Article excerpt

THE COST of the national identity card scheme has shot up by [pounds sterling]640million in seven months, the Home Office admitted today.

In a report to Parliament, released a month late, John Reid said the predicted bill was now [pounds sterling]5.55 billion.

Ministers blamed higher staff costs for the 13 per cent increase on the previous [pounds sterling]4.9 billion estimate.

The report also warns of a "significant probability" the figure will have to be revised again. The Tories and the

Lib-Dems accused the Government of squandering public money and seeking to "bury bad news" on the day of Tony Blair's resignation.

Both pointed out that the report, required by law every six months, should have been submitted to Parliament no later than 9 April.

Shadow home secretary David Davis warned costs were likely to escalate and added: "The public will see through this transparent and pathetic attempt to bury bad news." Lib-Dem home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg warned: "The Government is seriously under-estimating the wave of public hostility that they will face." Mr Reid insisted: "It is about enabling the public to feel safe, secure and confident in their daily lives." One reason cited for the cost increase is that more staff will be needed to check applications both to prevent fraud and to ensure that passports continue to be issued efficiently while the new system gets under way.

Today's document also reveals that a further [pounds sterling]200 million will be spent on providing ID cards to foreign nationals as part of clampdown on illegal immigration.

The first identity cards are due to be issued in 2009 for an estimated [pounds sterling]30 and will contain biometric fingerprint details. Details will also be held on a National Identity Register..

THE COST of the national identity card scheme has shot up by [pounds sterling]640million in seven months, the Home Office admitted today. …

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