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ID Card scheme banking on 28 million volunteers

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Government claims that the ID Card scheme will be self-financing are "completely deluded", the Tories have claimed today.

Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling launched the attack as the Home Office released its twice-yearly estimates on the multibillion-pound project's cost to the Exchequer.

His opposite number on the government benches, Alan Johnson, claimed that voluntary take-up will cover the £835m it is estimated the ID Cards themselves will cost.

The cards are expected to cost the public £30 each, so on the Home Secretary's reckoning, 28 million people - almost half the population of the UK - will come forward.

"If Alan Johnson seriously thinks that nearly half the adult population is going to voluntarily pay for ID cards out of their own pocket then he is completely deluded," said Grayling.

"It is time the government realised this whole scheme is a white elephant and it should be scrapped immediately."

The Tories are committed to scrapping ID cards and the accompanying National Identity Register (NIR).

The Home Office now estimates the total cost of its identity plans, which also include a commitment to biometric passports, will be £4.6bn. The figure is slightly down on six months ago.

Johnson has ruled out making ID Cards compulsory. So far just 2,000 have been convinced to join the scheme in a trial in Manchester. ®

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