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Identity Cards: Finance

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reasons the funding allocation to projects common to both the identity card and the passport elements of the identity card scheme rose from £63 million in the November 2007 cost report to £275 million in the May 2008 cost report; and what percentage of the cost of the identity card scheme is associated with the minimum necessary upgrade for introducing biometric passports. (219769)

The Cost Report has set out those elements of the cost estimates that relate specifically to passports, those cost estimates specific to identity cards, and those cost estimates that are common to both. The cost of registering individuals for passports and ID cards is included in common costs because the same technology infrastructure and business processes will be used. In many cases, the same application will result in the issue of both a passport and an ID card.

The May 2008 Cost Report is based upon the roll-out and phasing of the 2008 Delivery Plan, whereas the November 2007 Cost Report is based upon the 2006 Strategic Action Plan. Therefore, the two reports are not directly comparable.

The estimated common costs are based upon a scale of operation that is delivering volumes of passports and identity cards. It would involve significant nugatory effort to define a split between these costs and it would be a largely theoretical exercise as current plans are for an integrated infrastructure. As such, it is not possible to identify the percentage of the cost of the identity card scheme that are associated with the minimum necessary upgrade for introducing biometric passports.