Your article of 28 April on ID cards is simply wrong on two fundamental
points. The Government is committed to introducing ID cards. And there is no
large fund of money to spend � or indeed save � if ID cards were cancelled.
ID cards will provide the public with a single, simple and secure way for
individuals to prove their identity and safeguard their personal details �
protecting the community against crime, illegal immigration, and terrorism.
Of the �4.7bn the Identity and Passport Service expects to spend over the
next 10 years only around a quarter is dedicated to ID cards and all the
costs of issuing the cards, as with passports, will be covered through the
fee income it generates.
This means around 75 per cent of these costs will be spent on running the
Identity and Passport Service as it exists today and making important
improvements, such as the introduction of fingerprints into passports,
making them even more secure and ensuring that British citizens travelling
abroad continue to hold a gold-standard passport.
Phonetically speaking, the initial prospects for privacy are indeed grim
when applied to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (leading article,
AIUI, the government's figures for how much the scheme will cost are
simply the cost *to the Home Office/IPS* of getting the scheme up and
running. This letter seems to confirm that view.
E.g. if the NHS or any other publicly funded service decides to use the
identity verification scheme, the cost of doing that is not included in
the ï¿½4.7, yet it will involve costs that will be incurred by the
relevant government department, and will thus add to public spending.
If the scheme were set up and ONLY used by Home Office controlled bodies
then maybe it would actually cost the ï¿½4.7 billion over 10 years that
they're talking about. One would wonder what the point was though.
Also, 25% of ï¿½4.7 billion is ï¿½1.175 billion. ISTM that is a worthwhile
saving in and of itself.