UK Liberty

ID card costs rise

Posted in accountability, ID Cards by ukliberty on May 11, 2007

The Independent:

Opposition parties accused the Government of burying bad news and breaking the law today, after new figures revealed the rocketing cost of the ID cards project.

The projected cost of the controversial identity scheme has risen by at least £400 million in the last six months.

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats said the true rise was actually £640 million – to a staggering £5.55 billion over 10 years.

The Home Office was accused of breaking the law by publishing its compulsory twice-yearly update more than one month late, coinciding with the day Prime Minister Tony Blair announced his resignation.

The BBC:

The Home Office say that [£640m] figure is ‘concocted’ and the increase was due to staff and anti-fraud expenditure.

It’s still part of the cost of the scheme, isn’t it?

Amid the row about the actual rise in the cost of the scheme, the Tories and Lib Dems also say that the Home Office broke the law by releasing the updated costings a month later than they should have.

Under the Identity Card Act, the government must give an update on the costs of the scheme twice a year. The latest update was due on 9 April.

The Home Office said 9 April had fallen during Parliament’s Easter holiday and it had released the figures “as soon as we possibly could”.

Still broke the law though, didn’t you?

The timing with Mr Blair’s departure announcement had been coincidental, said a spokeswoman.

The £5.31bn cost relates to expected expenditure between 2006 and 2016.

And it still only relates to the cost of setting up and maintaining the scheme – not the cost of other government departments and the rest of the public sector making use of it.


Perhaps it’s worth noting that the cost of the NHS ‘Spine’ went from £2.3 bn, to £5 bn, £6.2 bn, £12.4 bn, and £20 bn – the last not for the central services themselves, Lord Warner has explained, but for enabling everyone to use them.

The point being, even if we had an accurate estimate of the cost of setting up and running of both schemes, we have no idea at all how much it will cost to make use of them!

The NAO report on the project makes clear that £6.2 bn was just for the fixed price contracts for 2003 and 2004, and later another £1 bn was budgeted for contracts outside the “original scope” of the project. Meaning, they underestimated the budget. Meaning, the costs are rising.


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  1. […] bit of Blair’s first draft resignation speechIndependent review of Scottish electoral chaosID card costs riseJohn Reid: the state will define your identityHonesty is contingent on confidentialityTalking CCTV […]

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