back to article UK ID card costs climb £600m in six months

The government's cost estimate for its identity card scheme has risen at least £600m in the six months since its last disclosure. According to the May 2007 Identity Cards Scheme Cost report, at last count the project was going to cost £4.9bn between October 2006 and October 2016 (although we reported the estimate was £5.4bn). …


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  1. Silas Humphreys

    Not about control?

    Just to make people "feel" safe?

    They're desperate to torpedo it, aren't they?

  2. Brian Mankin

    Feeling Safe

    "Writing in The Guardian newspaper today, home secretary John Reid said identity cards ... make people 'feel safe'."

    Ah yes. Much like the high walls and iron doors make the guests at Belmarsh Prison feel safe. I'll be able to sleep all comfy cosy knowing that John Reid is watching me ... er... watching _out_ for me.

  3. Dale Morgan

    ID card?

    How does an ID card make someone feel safe?

    Should we legalise guns and let people carry swords around because they would make the owner feel alot more safe than an ID card

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A good day to bury bad news

    Funny old world, isn't it?

    The day that Blair decides to bestow upon us the sad date of his departure, hidden as far down the news pages as it can be comes the surprising news that the cost of the ID Card shambles has risen.

    Well, I'll be blowed...

    May those chaps at the LSE & old Phil whatsit weren't as guilty of wilfully misleading the public as we were led to believe by those decent types at the Ministry of Justice.

  5. Graham Marsden

    Well that's ok, then...!

    So let's see what John Reid has to say:

    1) In "a modern society", he said, people needed to prove their identity when they applied for jobs, allowing "businesses to vet new employees more effectively".

    Well, I run my own business, so I don't need to prove my identity to myself. And unless he's going to try to force ID cards on people in India, how's he going to stop people in call centres playing fast and loose with our data?

    2) "A modern society also required people to prove their identities when they crossed borders, and when they opened a bank account."

    Well a) we *have* got passports already, Mr Reid, but we don't *need* one to be allowed to walk down the street if we don't plan on crossing any borders. (Oh and does the name "Schengen" mean anything to you"?

    And b) Yes, we need to prove our identities when we open bank accounts. Why? Oh, yes, it's because your predecessors have *forced* banks to adopt schemes to stop us all from using our bank accounts for money laundering. Exactly how successful has that been given the amount that has been stolen from credit cards recently...?

    3) "Our own, unique, identity is inexorably becoming our most precious possession. But when so much of this is now done remotely, how can we be sure who we are interacting with?"

    A very good point, Mr Reid. How can we be sure *WHO* is accessing our "most precious possession"? How can we be sure that the people *you* are employing are honest and trustworthy and above suspicion...?

    4) He said identity cards would make people "feel" safe. "This is not about control, Big Brother, or the loss of liberty.

    Oh well *that's* ok, then! Now I *really* feel safe, John Reid has spoken and that's all that needs to be said.

    There won't be any function creep, there won't be massive databases with all our details on, nobody's going to be checking our ID cards just for being out after dark or wanting to buy something with a credit card or for "looking suspiciously black".

    I feel so much better already...

  6. Silas Humphreys

    To me, Schengen means...

    "An agreement that the UK never signed up to". Yes, MOST Eurotypes don't need passports within the United States of Europe. Since the UK never signed up to that one, British people DO still need passports within the USE.


  7. peter


    I bet the VAT fraud at £7.4 Billion per quarter according to the BBC, is coming down nicely. A complex system like this would be great for those who can talk to the human beings who input data,

  8. Graham Marsden



    John Reid said "A modern society also required people to prove their identities when they crossed borders"

    It doesn't matter whether we signed up to it or not, unless he's saying that those who are members of the Schengen Agreement are not "modern societies" he's talking out of his backside (again).

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please be updating your personal details....

    New Delhi 12:44 CTT: All you good peoples of the British Isles, please be updating your personal details for us to be using to sell you things you probably don't be wanting. We are storing your datas in a most honourable and secure way, in fact the tin box we are keeping it in has no fewer than 2 padlocks.

    PS: Mr Gavin of Hull, how are you today sir? How is the nasty rashing coming up?

    *Call Centre Time

  10. Gareth Lowe

    Burying bad news

    The identity card act requires updated costs to be published every 6 months, by publishing these figures one month late (totally coincidently on the same day as one of the biggest stories of the year) the government are breaking the law.

  11. Steve B

    Make them pay the shortfall

    I have always maintained that if they were so certain of the cost they should have been made to underwrite any shortfall found in the scheme. So come on Mr Blair, Brown, Blunkett Reid and co. £100k a piece or so should help us catch up.

    Whoops that was £600 million short, so just the odd £60+ million each then.

    No wonder they are all jumping ship.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We're all living in a book...

    No not that one -- Orwell's 1984 is nothing like this shambles. For a real look at where we're heading just read John Brunner's "The Shockwave Rider", published in 1975. Much more relevant, and only just over 30 years ahead of its time.

  13. Steve Davies

    Another example of "say the opposite to what is true"

    ID cards make a stolen identity more valuable. They increase risk and will do zero for the "war on terror" - but hey thats a a falsehood also.

    What gets me is that it has come to pass that the most obvious B-S is trotted out day after day and this country takes it.

    Just wait for them to link up ID cards with a spy-in-car road charging device....

  14. Louis Cowan


    This scheme, like many other bird brained scheme thoughtup by chin-stroking politicians, just seems to be a black hole for cash. These costs should be detailed clearly and accounted for - 0.5 billion pounds in 6 months for ... what exactly? More furious chin-stroking? Blamestorming and imagineering?

    I demand numbers, dammit!

  15. Maurice Shakeshaft

    Just couple of thoughts

    “The Register” is read by, amongst others, IT types who will have to implement and maintain the systems spawned by the ID Card process – If not the ID Card system itself.

    Not one comment so far discusses the ID Card issue with a view to advocating their use. Were are you all??!

    Making a reasonable combination of these facts could raise the question that if those who will develop and maintain the system think it is an indefensibly bad idea why do those who know nothing persist?

    There must be a group of IT people out there who have the ear of important, informed decision makers who have the specification “magic wand”, but what they do for a living isn’t any form of IT I recognise. Maybe they did the NHS IT and the RPA payments systems and feel buoyed by their success?

    Please also note that we are only at the estimation and budgetary stage. No scrip/code has been written yet (have they??). £18Bn is looking more and more likely.

    Just stop it now Mr Reid – or your successor - and get on with protecting citizen/subject Identity and not by making it available to the whole damn world – were is the privacy in that?

  16. Alan lodge

    £10 million per person

    By my maths that works out to be ~£10 millon per person in the UK.

    What is this card meant to protect against that justifys a spend like that. Is the government are telling me that there is a chance that I will lose £10 million to idenity theft over the next 10 years.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obsolete billion...

    A billion is 1,000 million. So the ID card, at £6 billion will cost at least £6,000 million. The population of the UK is just over 60 million. So that comes out at about £100/head (man, woman and child).

    We used to have, in our quaint Imperial way, our own definition of a billion as a million million but that's gone the way of the dinosaur.

    It still isn't worth a 100 quid a head, and £6 billion is going to be a gross underestimate anyway.

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