Re-posted from archive of infinite ideas machine 2004:
So, if each ID card costs £35 (barring replacements) while we ‘officially’ DON’T all have to have one – unless, e.g. we want to drive a car or go on holiday – how much money will the Government raise before making it compulsory? According to Mr. Blunkett’s current ‘vision’ it will be of the order of 80% x 60,000,000 x £35 = over £1.5 billion, crudely speaking.
Making the cards compulsory from the outset would, of course, raise the spectre of having to make the damn things free – as are, e.g. NI cards currently – which would never do! I’m sure a certain Mr. Brown would have something to say about that – hence the Home Office’s ‘softly, softly, makee money’ approach…
It’s also not clear in anything I’ve read yet whether these fees will form a part of, or be in addition to, the billions that this whole scheme is supposedly going to cost. We have been told for over a year now that Government estimates are £3.1 billion for a card priced at around £40 – with independent experts raising this to £5 billion, even apart from the almost inevitable overspend. See, e.g. the Foundation for Information Policy Research who brand the UK Government’s ID card scheme an expensive flop.
So where are these estimates – surely the public deserve to see the figures and calculations used?
Are we ‘early adopters’ (bar the initial 10,000 – unless their details actually are “destroyed at the end of the trial” as promised) therefore expected to bear a huge chunk of the cost of the implementation, development and maintenance of the NIR and associated systems? Or will yet another layer of muddled-up Government bureacracy that fails to address the real problems in hand end up being funded from our overstretched taxes?
And finally, can we (the early adopters) expect to get a refund when ID cards are finally made compulsory – but if so will we have to agree, e.g. to have our tax code entered into the NIR to receive it? Beware of ‘feature creep’ marketed under the banner of ‘convenience’…