NO2ID  rejects the Home Secretary’s claim the National Identity Scheme is not a waste because the cost will be recovered by charging people for ID cards . In reality the ‘voluntary’ ID cards are deeply unpopular with only a few thousand in issue . The Home Office plan is to force *everyone* applying for a passport from 2012 to be registered on the ID database, and charge them too, whether they want a card or not.
Contracts already issued, amounting to more than £1 billion of spending , could be broken — as opposition parties have promised to do — and significantly greater savings would come from dropping the introduction of fingerprinting to passport applications in two years’ time.
Phil Booth, National Coordinator of NO2ID said,
‘Why throw any more into this money-pit? The government has spent like water for six years on planning it – clearly it intends to waste billions more on this bureaucratic equivalent of gold-bath taps. And whatever Gordon Brown or Alan Johnson may claim, the public still pays.’
Meanwhile, Labour candidates in the North East of England have criticised Liberal Democrat plans to drop the introduction of fingerprinting for biometric passports, claiming that it will cost jobs in their constituencies .
The current biometric passport, which contains a digitised version of your photo, complies with all international obligations, the common international standard agreed by the 148 countries in the International Civil Aviation Organisation. There is no need for fingerprints or a database of personal details. As researchers at the LSE Identity Project point out, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.S. have all rejected the inclusion of fingerprints in their passports .
James Elsdon-Baker, North of England Coordinator for NO2ID said,
‘They may be trying to defend the indefensible, but Labour candidates are just muddled about ‘ID jobs’. Whether it’s indirectly from the public purse or directly from people’s pockets, the money has to come from somewhere. The question is: what do you want to spend it on?’
‘£400 million over ten years would appear to get you 1000 beat coppers, 1300 teachers or 1600 new nurses… or 80 people working for De La Rue near Durham.’
Notes for editors:
- NO2ID is the UK-wide non-partisan campaign against ID cards and the database state. See http://www.no2id.net/dbstate for a list of ‘database state’ initiatives that NO2ID is actively opposing, and http://www.no2id.net/datasharing for how it all fits together.
NO2ID’s ‘Don’t be a guinea-pig’ campaign is at: http://www.idcardcon.org/
- Speaking during the crime debate on the BBC’s Daily Politics programme, Home Secretary Alan Johnson said: ‘The money all comes back because we charge for ID cards. If we stop now you’ve wasted all the capital investment and you get no money back because we will charge for the ID card.’ See http://www.kable.co.uk/id-cards-johnson-grayling-huhne-debate-21apr10
- Despite being pushed to students as a (very expensive and bureaucratic) proof-of-age card, the 11,000 ID cards issued to date equate to less than 5% of the annual PASS-accredited cards issued annually. See http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/news.ma/article/86712 . Having spent £1.3 million on advertising — approximately £130 per card issued to date — ‘voluntary’ sign-up rates are still only 0.1-0.2% of all those who qualify to apply.
- CSC’s contract is for £385 million and IBM’s £265 million http://www.itpro.co.uk/610443/ibm-and-csc-win-big-id-card-contracts and smartcard specialist De La Rue will be paid £400 million http://www.computing.co.uk/computing/news/2244006/government-awards-400m-contract
- See http://www.sundaysun.co.uk/news/north-east-news/2010/04/18/rivals-call-for-clarity-over-lib-dem-passport-plans-79310-26263887/
- See http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/election/?p=1244
For further information, or for immediate or future interview, please contact:
- Phil Booth (National Co-ordinator, national.coordinator at no2id.net) on 07974 230 839
- Guy Herbert (General Secretary, general.secretary at no2id.net) on 07956 544 308
- Michael Parker (Press Officer, press.officer at no2id.net) on 07773 376 166