ID card scheme branded a waste of money

The proposed ID card scheme has come under yet more fire from opposition MP’s after it was revealed that the scheme has cost nearly £50m. Since the Prime Minister announced the new scheme the project has been beset with setbacks.

Sep 7, 2006
By David Howell
Cleveland PCC Steve Turner

The proposed ID card scheme has come under yet more fire from opposition MP’s after it was revealed that the scheme has cost nearly £50m. Since the Prime Minister announced the new scheme the project has been beset with setbacks.

Gordon Brown is rumoured to favour shelving the scheme if he ever came to power. This has fuelled the debate about the continued development of a national ID card scheme.

In a written reply to a question asked by Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik it was revealed that £46.4m was spent between May 2003 and May 2006 on the scheme. In response Opik stated that he felt the scheme was now “unworkable” and a “waste of money”. He also added: “Instead of throwing away public money on pointless plastic, the government could be focusing on increasing effective measures which tackle the root causes of crime.” This was supported by Phil Booth, of pressure group No2ID, who said: “It`s unbelievable that the government is still shoveling money into this bottomless black pit.”

Despite the criticism leveled at the scheme the Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment by stating that the ID card was a “major plank” of the Labour Parties election manifesto. The latest estimates from the Home Office put the cost of the scheme at £584m a year but critics have claimed the actual cost could be nearly £20 billion in the first ten years alone.

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