Jacqui gives the game away on the National Identity Scheme

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James Hammerton

Apr 29, 2009, 5:02:17 PM4/29/09
Jacqui Smith sent the following letter to the Independent

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.

I contend this paragraph rather gives the game away.

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.

Jacqui Smith

Home Secretary

London SW1

My understanding of the government's figures for how much the scheme
will cost is that they were/are based on how much it would cost the Home
Office to set the scheme up and running and did not include the costs to
other organisations of using the identity verification service.

This letter pretty much confirms this understanding - the �4.7billion
mentioned is the estimated cost to the Identity and Passport Service,
and thus we do not know how much it will cost, e.g. the Dept for Work
and Pensions or the Department of Health to use the identity
verification service.

Now we can conclude one of the following here. Either:

* No other government departments or public bodies funded by Westminster
have plans to use the identity verfication service and thus there is
"only" the implied �1.175 billion (25% of �4.7 billion) to be saved. NB:
I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt and I'm assuming the figures are
realistic best guesses of the Home Office.

If this is the case, then what might reasonably ask what the point is of
setting up a scheme that's only used by the IPS (and perhaps some
private organisations). Saving �1.175 billion will be well worth while
if the scheme is unable to achieve the vast bulk of the ostensible goals
set out for it, which require it to be used, at minimum, by most public

E.g. it ain't gonna be any use for avoiding benefit fraud if the
benefits agencies aren't verifying people's identities using the NIS.

* Jacqui is failing to tell us the full cost of the scheme and the
government's plans to use it, and therefore there is money to be saved
over and above the �1.175 billion implied in her letter.

Either the plans have been included in the budgets of the other
departments, or they've not. If they have, it's money to be saved from
the projected public spending over the next decade if the scheme is
scrapped, on top of the �1.175 billion admitted to. If not, it is extra
spending that a cash strapped government could easily do without.

Given that the only money being talked about is that pledged to be spent
by the IPS/Home Office, my bet is that other departments have not yet
made plans to use the identity verification service, if they're ever
going to do so.


James Hammerton,


Apr 29, 2009, 5:06:05 PM4/29/09

"James Hammerton" <jah.u...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message

ensuring that British
> citizens travelling abroad continue to hold a gold-standard passport.<

Chains are still chains - be they made of gold or iron.

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