FOLLOWING years of criticism that the ID scheme will amount to nothing more than an expensive bodge, the Identity and Passport service said it has slashed ithe cost by nearly a £1 billion.
But opponents say it has cut corners to cut costs and British citizen's will suffer the consequences, while the Home Office has had to create a rush job mini-ID scheme to meet its own 2009 deadline.
The IPS said today that its cost estimate for giving ID cards to every UK national and running the system for 10 years had been cut from £5.43 million to £4.56 million.
It had done this, it said in its quarterly ID costs report, by deciding toleave the "open market" to capture citizens' biometrics, effectively outsourcing the cost of enrolling people onto the ID scheme.
It also said it had found that the cost of replacing the passport
application with the conjoined passport and ID system would not be as expensive as it first thought.
Dr Edgar Whitley at the London School of Economics Identity Project says,
said in a
statement that the revised plans might be
cheaper, but it would put citizen's privacy at greater risk.
"While the headline costs of the Scheme to the government go down, the costs and risks to the citizen rise," he said.
He said he couldn't figure out how the government could say it should keep people's identies data secure in a centralised government scheme, and yet proposed to make "grocery stores and post offices" responsible for collecting people's biometrics.
The IPS had said it had to cut costs because of the hoops it was having to jump to meet its 2009 deadline to introduce ID cards to UK citizens.
It planned a "twin-track" ID project, that involved a "temprorary" ID scheme being used to catch a "small number" of people in 2009, while the full system would not be introduced until 2012 or 2013.
The cost the nabbing and dabbing every foreigner in Britain and bunging them on the ID database had increased by 60 per cent to £301 million. All these costs would be recovered by charging people from other countries the entire cost of the programme.
Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat shadow home secretary, said the money should instead be spent on putting more police on the streets.
“Minor changes in cost estimates cannot disguise the fact that nearly £5 billion of taxpayers’ money will be squandered on a scheme that will fail to combat identify fraud, illegal working, crime or terrorism." he said. µ
The week in Google
The scandal that just keeps giving
Clip to the end....