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Thursday, May 27, 2010

ID cards to go within 100 days

This morning's Guardian confirms that the £4.5bn national identity card scheme is to be scrapped within 100 days.

They say that abolishing the cards and associated register will be the first piece of legislation introduced to parliament by the new government. The identity documents bill will invalidate all existing cards and the role of the identity commissioner, created in an effort to prevent data blunders and leaks, will be abolished.

This move is set to save £86m over four years and avoid £800m in costs over the next 10 years that would have been raised by increased charges. The paper adds that an allied decision to cancel the next generation of biometric fingerprint passports will save a further £134m over four years. Savings to the public under the whole package will total £1bn.

The deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, said: "The wasteful, bureaucratic and intrusive ID card system represents everything that has been wrong with government in recent years."

For once I agree with the TUC, this is an excellent start for the coalition:

Brendan Barber of the Trades Union Congress also welcomed the decision: "Scrapping identity cards is an important sign that the new government is committed to safeguarding civil liberties.

"With public spending under close scrutiny, identity cards were a costly folly that would have done nothing in reality to assist the fight against terrorism and would have been an unwelcome intrusion into people's personal liberty, with a likely disproportionate impact on black and ethnic minority citizens," he said.


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