Identity Documents Bill
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Labour)
My Lords, the amendment is fairly straightforward, and I hope that it will be seen as a much-needed addition to the Bill. Conservative shadow Ministers when in opposition made varying claims about the current cost of the ID card scheme which ranged widely from nearly £1 billion to up to £20 billion. Meanwhile, the National Identity Service cost report of October 2009-the official document laid before Parliament under the terms of the Identity Cards Act 2006-stated that the projected forward cost of providing ID cards for the next 10 years until 2019 was £835 million. Crucially, that figure does not equate to the savings to be made from scrapping the scheme. We know that because we read the impact assessment that accompanies the Bill, which states at the bottom of page 4:
"The October 2009 cost report indicated that cancellation of ID cards would avoid future costs of £835 million up to October 2019. However, these costs are planned to be recovered through future fees to ID card purchases. Therefore, there are no benefits to the taxpayer from Year 3 onwards".
The tables included in the impact assessment reveal that total savings from scrapping the scheme are £118 million. The total cost of cancelling the ID cards and the NIR are given as £22 million, although the Bill's Explanatory Notes state the cost to be £55 million. There appears to be a muddle and the Government have been rather misleading to claim the scale of the savings that they have done. A definitive, preferably independently audited cost and saving report would be desirable and it would be appropriate for it to be part of the Bill. I hope that the noble Baroness will consider this matter as sympathetically as she can.