The UK’s identity cards scheme will cost more than £5.5bn to set up and run over the next 10 years, according to the government.
The cost of providing ePassports and ID cards to UK citizens for the period between April 2007 and April 2017 is estimated to be £5.55bn, according to the government’s Identity Cards Scheme Cost Report May 2007.
At least every six months, the government is required to give parliament an estimate of the public cost likely to be incurred by the ID cards scheme over the following 10 years.
The previous cost report – released in October 2006 – projected costs from October 2006 to October 2016 of the ID cards and ePassports scheme to be more than £5.4bn.
But the new figure includes a £400m increase added on for the number of staff necessary to deliver ID cards, and production costs for future biometric passports.
And the £510m costs incurred by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in running consular services abroad was excluded, as it does not form part of the expenditure of the National Identity Scheme, the report said.
The cost of issuing biometric ID cards and running the data base that underpins the system will be £5.4 billion over the next 10 years, the Home Office said yesterday.
A biometric ID card which includes start-up and running costs, was immediately denounced as an underestimate by opponents of ID cards.
Academics have already predicted that the cost of the scheme could rise to almost £20 billion.
The report, produced at Parliament’s behest, is the first to set out the total costs of the project. Although it is far less than critics of the scheme anticipate, it is still £2 billion more than the Government officially estimated before the legislation went through Parliament.