Mark Rimmell (markrimmell) wrote,
Mark Rimmell

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I just got an email from Tony Blair!

Just 2 days away from the 55th anniversary of the abolition national identity cards in the UK.... We have more nonsense about the cost of biometric ID cards.

"We estimate that the cost of biometric passports will account for 70% of the cost of the combined passports/id cards. The additional cost of the ID cards is expected to be less than £30 or £3 a year for their 10-year lifespan."

After I finished rolling on the floor laughing.

Feel free to take this with a pinch of salt because I did the sums on the back of an envelope, I'm not a economist and frankly all these 0s astound me... but...

OK civil rights issues aside... That's a cost of £100 every 10 years. Why not say we're giving away a free ID card with every passport,  and pretend the ID card will cost passport holders nothing extra? That seems just as honest to me. I doubt it will really cost as little as £100 per person for ID card and passport... Of course the government can subsidise the total cost with tax payers money and stand back and say "but we're only charging £100", then we pay the real cost in stelth taxes.

This will be the biggest UK government  IT project  ever. Government IT projects have consistently gone over budget. For example a DSS IT project should of cost £1.1 billion but the cost was to be off set by cutting staff by 20,000... What actually happened is the project cost £2.7 billion and they didn't cut any staff... They took on 1000 more! Good news for the unemployment figures I guess.

Thinking about the ID card costs... even if it is off set by getting a biometric passport we, it seems to me, are being asked (as a nation) for £4,708,919,400 to pay for ID cards. £4.7 billion. I assume we've gone over to a billion = 109

My calculation based on population over the age of 16, figures from the 2001 UK National Census.

£4,708,919,400 that's only if the government can keep this project on budget . If it goes over by the same factor, as the DSS project I mentioned, we're looking at an initial cost of over £10 billion!

Interestingly The Home Secretary, Charles Clarke (he has the same birthday as me) is on record as saying, in regards to ID cards, that there are "potential benefits to the private sector" it seems he estimates these benefits to add up to around £4.25 billion over 10 years. I presume he means the reduction of ID fraud being the "benefits" and not the private sector contracts to build this system. If the private sector is going to benefit from this, are they going to be asked to chip in and help with the cost? Would it be unreasonable to ask for the 30% of £4.7 billion they say the ID cards will cost?

I wonder what odds I'd get at the bookies on this project going over budget?


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