November 8, 2007
For immediate release
The LSE Identity Project welcomes the timely publication of the third section 37 cost report on the Government’s plans for Identity Cards.
The report provides an update on the government’s estimated cost of the Scheme for the next ten years (for details, see below) and signals the likely timescale for the full rollout of identity cards to British and Irish citizens resident in the UK with significant numbers of identity cards only beginning to be issued in the period from April 2010.
Explaining the cost figures
The reported figures differ from previous cost estimates in three ways:-
The first two items result in a reduction of costs for the Identity Cards Scheme of £185million over ten years (or around 3% of the total), with the third item accounting for a £65million increase.
The government also plans to use the same technologies and infrastructure to introduce Biometric Immigration Documents for third country nationals (from outside the EEA) and similar cost differences arise in this area: i.e. a net decrease in the BID costs of £24million plus an additional £7million in BID costs to account for the change in reporting period.
Dr Edgar A. Whitley of the LSE Identity Project says, “While we welcome the projected cost savings associated with the recording and use of fingerprint biometrics, we remain puzzled by the lack of other savings associated with the decision to reuse existing government databases rather than build a new, secure National Identity Register from scratch. Similarly, we would have expected the decision to not use costly iris biometrics for the Scheme at this time to have led to a significant decrease on the overall cost of the Scheme”.
A more detailed response to the report will be published by the LSE Identity Project shortly.
For LSE research and reports on identity policy please see http://identityproject.lse.ac.uk