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Identity Cards: Costs

Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 24 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the costs were of the identity card scheme in each year since 2003-04; what proportion of the set-up costs has been met from existing departmental expenditure limits; and if she will make a statement; (154771)

(2) what estimate she has made of the likely costs of the identity card scheme in each year up to 2012-13; what proportion of the set-up costs she expects to be met from existing departmental expenditure limits; and if she will make a statement.

Between the financial years 2003-04 and 2005-06, £41.1 million was spent by the identity cards programme in total.

Since the merger of the Home Office identity cards programme and the UK Passport Service to create the Identity and Passport Service on 1 April 2006, projects to deliver passports including facial images and fingerprints, identity cards and other improvements have been necessarily combined. As much of the technology and operational processes needed to implement identity cards is also required for the implementation of these new passports, this is the most cost-effective way to deliver these initiatives.

Much of the work conducted by Identity and Passport Service cannot be categorised, both financially and operationally, as contributing towards either the introduction of passports with facial images and fingerprints or identity cards alone. The work is accounted for as future development projects which in the 2006-07 financial year amounted to £30.9 million.

Section 37 of the Identity Cards Act 2006 requires the Secretary of State to lay a report before Parliament every six months which details an updated figure for the cost of the national identity scheme over the following 10 years. The latest cost report was laid before Parliament on 10 May 2007, Official Report, column 24WS and can be found at:

http://www.identitycards.gov.uk/downloads/2007-05-10CostReport.pdf

I would refer the hon. Member to that report. The next cost report will be laid in November 2007.

The costs of issuing passports and identity cards to British Nationals will be predominantly covered by fee income. The final fee schedule for these products has yet to be finalised.