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Identity Cards

Volume 455: debated on Monday 8 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the revenue which will be received from charges for the provision of information from the National Identity Register for identity verification in each of the first five years of its operation. (109835)

It would not be appropriate at this stage to disclose details of the estimate of the balance of funding which will come from the different types of fee for identity verification which may be set under the powers in section 35 of the Act. Disclosing this information would potentially hinder the Department's ability to obtain value for money in a procurement process.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the effect of imposing charges for the provision of information from the National Identity Register for the purposes of identity verification on charges to customers wishing to open a high street bank account. (109836)

The Identity and Passport Service is in contact with representatives of a number of financial institutions with regard to the development of the National Identity Scheme. This interaction includes work to identify possible cost savings and customer and business benefits that can be realised through use of the scheme along with a continuing dialogue on how identity verification services could operate most effectively.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to section 5 (5) of the Identity Cards Act 2006, whether individuals who fail to attend an appointment to verify their information will be subject to a fine. (109844)

Section 5(5) states that an individual may be required to attend an interview and register biometrics in order to obtain an identity card. Until the scheme becomes compulsory there will be no civil penalty for failure to comply with the registration process but an individual failing to comply will not be given a card. If the application for a card is made in conjunction with an application for a designated document, the designated document will also not be issued until the required procedures are followed.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his most recent estimate is of the cost of introducing identity cards. (110341)

[holding answer 19 December 2006]: The Home Office reported to Parliament about the likely future costs of the ID cards scheme on 9 October. The cost of issuing passports and ID cards, including set-up costs, is estimated to be £5.4 billion in the 10 years from October 2006. Further cost estimates will be submitted to Parliament at least every six months, as required by section 37 of the Identity Cards Act 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what alternative proposals to identity cards were considered by his Department; and what assessment was undertaken of the likely effectiveness of such proposals in meeting the policy objectives of identity cards. (110342)

[holding answer 19 December 2006]: The National Identity Scheme is the result of a process of continuing development and consultation, beginning several years before the Identity Cards Act received Royal Assent in March 2006. The consultation paper, “Entitlement Cards and Identity Fraud”, was published in July 2002 and invited views on whether a scheme should be implemented and if so, how. As a result of responses received during the six month consultation period, the Government announced their decision to introduce a scheme in “Identity Cards: The Next Steps”, published in November 2003. A draft Bill was then published and consulted on before the first Identity Cards Bill was introduced to Parliament in November 2004. The scheme has continued to develop as the legislation has undergone parliamentary scrutiny and following Royal Assent.

The Regulatory Impact Assessment of the Identity Cards Bill set out other initiatives which were under way with the objectives of tackling illegal immigration and illegal working, security and organised crime, identity fraud and improving the administration of public services. The National Identity Scheme is not intended to be the sole method of solving any of these problems and other initiatives will continue alongside the scheme which will complement these other initiatives, not replace them.