27/06/2005

Blair defends ID card plans

Prime Minister Tony Blair has defended his plans to introduce identity cards, saying that the cards were “an idea whose time had come”.

Speaking at a press conference today, Mr Blair urged the public to keep “an open mind” on the legislation and said that there was “plenty of time for this debate to develop”.

Mr Blair’s comments came as a report from the London School of Economics (LSE) indicated that the ID card scheme would cost between £10.6 billion and £19.2 billion – much higher than the government’s estimate of around £6 billion.

According to the LSE research, the cost of an ID card, including a new biometric passport, would be between £170 and £230. However, Mr Blair insisted today that the additional cost would be less than £30 extra on top of the fee for the new passports. The government has already estimated that the cards would cost around £93.

The LSE report has also highlighted a number of concerns over the controversial scheme including: fears that a scheme of this size – which has never been attempted before – would not work; that the information on the cards could potentially be accessed by hackers; and may even be illegal, due to the requirement of fingerprints. The report also expressed concerns over how often the cards would have to be renewed and how people would be persuaded to use the scheme.

The LSE report described the current government proposals as “too complex, technically unsafe and overly prescriptive”.

The ID Cards Bill is due to have its second reading in the House of Commons tomorrow. A number of Labour MPs are expected to join the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in opposing the Bill.

(KMcA/SP)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

22 August 2013
Customers To Be Reimbursed Following Mis-Sold CPP Card Protection
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has reached an agreement with Card Protection Plan Limited (CPP) and 13 high street banks and credit card issuers, that will pave the way for redress to be paid to customers who were mis-sold CPP's Card Protection and Identity Protection policies.
28 June 2005
ID cards bill returns to the Commons
MPs are due to vote later today on the government’s controversial plans to introduce identity cards. A small number of Labour MPs are expected to vote against the scheme, which is already opposed by both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.
08 October 2003
M&S backtracks over &More credit card after OFT probe
Marks and Spencer Financial Services (MSFS) has changed the way it will offer to replace its store cards by the &More credit card after action by the Office of Fair Trading. MSFS had sent out letters to many card holders saying that its store card would automatically be replaced by the &More credit card unless card holders objected.
11 May 2006
Doctors urged to report adverse drug reactions
Doctors have been urged to report adverse drug reactions (ADR) in patients, after a report suggested that at least a quarter of a million patients are admitted to hospital suffering such reactions each year.
09 October 2006
Cost of ID card scheme revealed
The government has revealed that the cost of the controversial ID card scheme will be £5.4 million over the next ten years. It is the first time that a figure for the total cost of the project, including all the set-up and operational costs of the scheme, has been released.