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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Is this the end for ID cards?

Encouraging news in this morning's Independent that senior cabinet ministers are privately discussing a plan to scrap the Government's £5bn identity cards programme as part of cuts to public spending:

The ministers believe that some "sacred cows" will have to be sacrificed in the effort to reduce Britain's debt mountain. They are raising fresh questions over the future of the ID card programme as the Cabinet faces renewed pressure to find economies beyond a promised £9bn in "efficiency savings".

"My sense is that ID cards will not go ahead," a senior Cabinet Minister said. "We have to find savings somewhere, and it would be better to shelve schemes like this that aren't popular."

A ComRes poll for The Independent today finds 55 per cent of voters favour public spending cuts to reduce Britain's debts, against 38 per cent who want taxes to be increased. It also finds that the Tory lead over Labour has widened from 12 to 19 points since the Budget.

Issuing ID cards will cost more than £5bn over the next decade while scrapping the scheme now would leave the taxpayer with a relatively small compensation bill to pay.

Cabinet sceptics are preparing to use the public spending crunch to push for the scheme to be abandoned before the first cards are issued to British nationals this winter.

The Home Office has put the cost of introducing ID cards for Britons at £4.7bn over the next decade and the additional cost of introducing them for foreign nationals at £326m. Vince Cable has also highlighted the ID card project and Trident as potential savings that will enable the Government to balance their books.

In my view the Government should never have committed to either. I would have preferred Ministers to have seen the error of their ways and accepted that they were wrong but if it is financial reasons that finally kills off the schemes then so be it. Abandoning the ID card project now will be the right decision even if it has been taken for the wrong reason.


So after wasting God alone knows how much they now decide to scrap it.

Utter fools the lot of them.
They don't really have much of a choice, do they? I'll credit the recession with just one piece of unintended positive outcome...
The whole ID cards thing was a kind of knee-jerk "lets be seen to be doing something" reaction to terrorism. One that a) cost too much b) wouldn't stop it c) would be vastly unpopular with the population.

I guess Labour are trying to save money AND save votes. Too late, methinks. And their culture of snoop won't stop until they do:

"Culture of Snoop" will use this in the future!
They should all be surcharged.
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