To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the cost of installing biometric card readers (a) in total and (b) as an average per facility for benefit offices in the UK; and what estimate he has made of the annual cost of maintenance for biometric card readers in these facilities.
We have conducted a high level assessment of the number of card readers that will be required by the Department. Our initial estimate is that in the region of 4,500 readers may be required. The Home Office currently estimate that the cost of a card reader would fall within the range of £250-£750 depending on their level of sophistication and performance. This would equate to a total of between £1,125,000 and £3,375,000.
Detailed work is still ongoing in relation to the overall maintenance costs. These costs will become clearer following further definition of the ID card scheme and DWP business requirements for interaction with the scheme are fully known.