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Thursday, May 26, 2005


The biggest ID fraud of all

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but introducing ID cards will save £1.3 billion.

Laugh? I nearly had my iris scanned.

Since no-one has been convinced by any of the government's other arguments, New Labour's latest wheeze is to claim that the cost of ID cards will be offset by the prevention of identity theft, currently running at £1.3 billion a year. Nice try, but it is a fraudulent claim.

article in The Register comprehensively demolishes the government's argument - using figures available on the Home Office's website. It turns out that the only saving ID cards might make would be £35 million-worth of benefit fraud.

The government will not reveal the cost of introducing ID cards, claiming this information is "commercially sensitive". However, it says that the scheme will cost £584 million a year to run. And its estimate of the cost to each citizen of purchasing a combined passport and ID card has now risen to £93.

The government also claims it has "listened" to criticisms, yet the new ID card bill is virtually identical to the one that fell at the end of the last parliament. New Labour is ploughing on regardless because it has invested a lot of prestige in its ID card scheme. Its exploitation of fears about identity theft is both desperate and thoroughly dishonest.

The BBC reported that,

Shami Chakrabarti, from civil rights group Liberty, urged MPs to reject what she said was a "rehashed bill that is more about political machismo than rational policy".
Which about sums it up.

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