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UK.gov ID card costings fit on back of (small) envelope

Mathematics of the madhouse

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Again if we assume that passport staff will do the work, we can increase the cost of the combined passport/ID Card office by another 30 per cent from the £4.8bn figure. This gives £6.25bn for the decade.

If one divides £6.25bn by £93 - the Government "best estimate" for the cost of an ID Card - then you arrive at the number of cards issued. This suggests 67.2 million cards issued which then can be compared with the Government's own official number for the number of ID Cards issued. The published figure is 67.5 million (paragraph 8, page 132, of CM5557 - Home Office publication on Entitlement Cards and Identity Fraud).

So our 300 word cost calculation – which does not extend over 30 pages, unlike the costings in the LSE Report – arrives at a figure which is 0.45 per cent out from the Government "best estimate". Of course, this could be a mathematical coincidence - as the Government has not published its costings nor how it arrived at its "best estimate". But such a calculation does open up the possibility that Home Office Ministers have criticised detailed research and cost analysis from the LSE and Kable and prefer a "back of the envelope" calculation.

Not only this - the calculation also assumes that the Passport Agency type database IS the same as ID Card database. This obviously can't be correct as the costs of the equipment needed by hospitals, police, public authorities, banks etc to access the database is obviously missing (eg when one registers with a GP, the cost of the GP equipment to perform the check does not feature in our calculation).

One hopes that this trivial calculation does not represent the way Government worked out its "best estimate". If it is, it lends weight to the argument that the LSE and Kable Report have been trashed not because its research is biased but because the research raises issues which the Home Office do not want to consider.®

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