ID cards to cost over £5.6bn

The latest Home Office report into the cost of the scheme over the next 10 years shows a rise of around £100m over the previous estimate

The UK's ID cards scheme will cost more than £5.6bn to set up and run over the next 10 years, according to the latest Home Office figures.

A £5.43bn price tag covers the total resource costs of providing both e-passports and ID cards to British and Irish citizens resident in the UK for October 2007 to October 2017, with £245m being spent on the set-up and £5.185bn on operational costs.

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 majority of the costs will be recovered by fees and charges, according to the Home Office.

The cost of a passport is set to increase substantially over the next five years to cover the cost of larger electronic chips that will hold more data and fingerprints, according to a separate report by a parliamentary spending watchdog.

The cost report also breaks down how the money will be spent, with the £5.43bn total split between spending on e-passports and ID cards combined (at nearly £3bn), only e-passports (£1.5bn) and only ID cards (£1bn).

An additional £182m will be dished out on top of this £5.43bn total to issue ID cards to foreign nationals, the Identity Cards Scheme Cost Report November 2007 reveals.

The report said: "As with any cost estimates covering a 10-year forward period, there are uncertainties. The estimates in this report are therefore subject to change in the light of new information or assumptions and there is a significant probability that the estimates will change in the light of further experience."

The previous cost report — released in May 2007 — projected costs from April 2007 to April 2017 of the ID cards and e-passports scheme to be more than £5.5bn.


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