The cost of an individual ID card could rise to almost £500 due to the cost of integrating the IT infrastructure with other government departments and public sector bodies, according to new figures from the London School of Economics (LSE).
The LSE has previously put the total cost of the ID card scheme at a maximum of £19bn -- compared to the Home Office estimate of £5.8bn -- which would work out to a unit cost of around £300 for producing each card.
But ZDNet UK's sister site, silicon.com, understands that updated cost estimates yet to be published by the LSE calculate that integrating the ID card IT infrastructure with all the government departments and public bodies expected to use the national identity register will cost an extra £5bn to £10bn -- bringing the total cost of the scheme nearer to £30bn.
The ID Card bill started its passage through the House of Lords today with peers making their opening comments during a debate on the proposed legislation.
Several peers launched scathing attacks on the bill. Baroness Anelay of St Johns said the proposed legislation is too broad and raises concerns about civil liberties.
She said: "The government proposals at the moment are not just expensive but excessive."
The latest figures follow a warning from senior civil servant Ian Watmore, the government's CIO, who said at the weekend that the rollout of ID cards could be delayed if the technology is not ready.
In an interview with The Independent on Sunday, Watmore said: "Just because the date comes round, it does not mean you switch it on then."
He said ID cards would be phased in over "quite a long period of time" following small-scale pilots with groups such as scout masters and teachers to establish whether the technology works.
He told the paper: "If they don't work, we won't go forward. Biometrics is something which has not been used on the scale of a national implementation."