Feeds

'Lunatic' Smith doubles ID card costs for Mancunians

Voluntary rollout addresses vexed 'who am I?' question

Boost IT visibility and business value

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith today confirmed that Manchester volunteers will be allowed to pay a total of £60 for an ID card from later this year. The price tag on the ID card will remain £30, but the Home Office is now estimating the cost of biometric enrollment, payable to the high street stores it hopes to recruit, as a further £30.

And in other news, Smith was described as a "lunatic" by banned US shock jock Michael Savage, now threatening to sue Smith for defamation, and as dead meat by the Sun, which reckons she'll be out of a job any minute now. Or possibly already - busy day, Jacqui.

Even the Home Office concedes that "only a small number of volunteers in Manchester" will be able to enrol for an ID card before the end of the year, and while this is scheduled to happen "from Autumn 2009", the National Identity Service Cost Report, published today, reports that contracts for passport design and production and card design and production are to be awarded "later in 2009".

Nor, despite interest from photographic stores, the National Pharmacy Association and the Post Office, have any High Street partners been signed up yet, far less started rolling out biometric enrollment equipment.

So, small publicity stunt, not many issued? Getting at least some ID cards into the hands of Mancunians will however have some effect in locking the ID card scheme into the system prior to next year's general election. The Home Office also seems to have been relatively successful in convincing sections of the press that much of the claimed cost of ID cards will have to be spent on upgrading to the next generation of biometric passports anyway (£3.95 billion claimed for this), leaving just £1.19 billion specifically being spent on ID cards available for cutting by any incoming Tory administration.

To some extent, this is true, as contracts for the enrollment system and biometric database covering both passports and ID cards have already been awarded, to CSC and IBM. Speaking on the Today programme this morning, however Dr Edgar Whitley of the LSE commented that the addition of fingerprints to passports was not, as the Home Office frequently claims, an international obligation but a political decision. The cost of this would however remain if a Tory government did not cancel fingerprints for passports. And if it didn't also move to dismantle the database or bring it under control, it might find itself cancelling little more than the plastic (and agreeing with David Blunkett, effectively).

Today's Cost Report also only covers cost to the Home Office, not ID-related costs to other government departments, businesses and to citizens (e.g that extra £30 and the spiralling cost of a passport). It also only covers forward costs, excluding an estimated £250 million already spent. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?