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Sunday, November 06, 2005

ID cards cost spirals up to £500 each

Sunday Times:

"THE cost of introducing a national identity card scheme could rise to almost £30 billion — almost £500 a card, the government will be warned this month.

A report by the London School of Economics (LSE), details of which have emerged this weekend, says the cost of integrating the scheme’s computers with government databases will add as much as £10 billion to the college’s previous £18 billion estimate.

The LSE revealed its initial figure last May, indicating a production cost of about £300 for each card. The study antagonised Charles Clarke, the home secretary, because the Home Office had previously estimated the scheme would cost only £5.8 billion. Clarke has said the card would cost £93 for each person — up from its original estimate of £77 — and accused the report’s authors of inventing their research.

He said senior LSE academics were “simply mad” and that they had refused to discuss their research with his officials. He dismissed their findings as “total nonsense”.

The new assessment of the scheme, to be published this month, will increase the pressure on Clarke and other ministers to abandon the idea."


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