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Identity Card Scheme: Costs

Volume 589: debated on Thursday 7 May 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they accept the estimate of the previous government that it would cost £600 million to introduce a national identity card scheme; if so, whether they will set out the components of this estimate; and whether they are prepared to invite competitive tenders for the introduction of such a scheme. [HL1686]

This figure was given in the 1995 Green Paper, Identity Cards: A Consultation Document, as the previous Government's broad estimate of the cost if there were to be a compulsory identity card scheme for all adults. This was derived from the unit cost of issuing passports, which at the time was £13 per head, and the estimated adult population of 46 million.We accept this figure as a benchmark cost. However, whether or not to introduce any form of national identity card scheme is first and foremost a question of public policy. We have no current proposals to introduce one, and it would not therefore be appropriate to commission an up to date costing exercise or to invite tenders.