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Synergy gone mad - travel agents to enrol for £100 ID card?

Ideal if you're planning a getaway...

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The estimated cost of the UK national ID card scheme continues to climb, with the combined card-&-biometric-passport price now passing £100. And IPS chief executive James Hall suggests that Post Offices and travel agents may be recruited to enrol people to the scheme.

The IPS (slogan: "Everyone's unique. Let us keep it that way") chief made the revelations yesterday. The planned new network of 70 ID card-issuing offices, he said, would probably be insufficient to cope with demand, and negotiations were underway to provide more outlets.

And if you think about it, travel agents needn't be a bad fit for sorting out passports for you. You could even, if you trying thinking outside of the same box as Hall and his 'planners', take it further. Flight to catch and you forgot your ID? No worries, we can run one off for you at check-in.

Hall's organisation also issued their latest six-monthly cost estimates (pdf) on the ID card scheme yesterday. Cards for Britons and Irish citizens resident in the UK are now expected to cost £5.4bn, and spending of £182m is to commence next year on cards for non-Irish foreign residents.

The foreigners will be charged so as to "fully recover" the costs of carding them up, according to the government. It's admitted that the cost estimates will be subject to change as the schemes move forward.

Recent speculation that the nervous new Brown government might not care to press ahead with a possible vote-loser like National ID (at least until after an election) was refuted.

"Have I noticed any drop in enthusiasm since Gordon Brown became Prime Minister?" said Hall to the Financial Times. "Rather the reverse."[Um, so he's noticed a drop in enthusiasm for Gordon Brown since ID cards, then? - Ed.] ®

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