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This figure has been arrived at following careful scrutiny of the costs of the ID cards scheme over the summer by the Home Office, in full consultation with Treasury and other Government Departments.
We are unable to release the precise costs for individual aspects of the scheme because this information is commercially sensitive and could affect the Department's ability to secure value for money from the market. However, independent analysis in a report from KPMG, a summary of which will be published shortly, has concluded that the costing methodology is robust and appropriate for this stage of development.
We are also developing plans to roll the scheme out faster using registration with the criminal records bureau as well as passport application to enrol people into the ID cards scheme. This would lead to faster issuing of the card and improved outcomes and budget savings for the criminal records bureau.
We remain confident that further significant savings to Government and the private sector will be identified as plans are developed. In particular, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality, East (Mr. McNulty) now chairs a cross-departmental ministerial committee to identify transformational benefits and efficiencies which the ID cards scheme can deliver to other Government Departments.
Our current best estimate of the average unit cost of the combined passport and ID card package is £93; around 70 per cent. of these costs would be incurred anyway because of the worldwide move to biometric passports. We expect that most people will still choose to get their ID card alongside their new biometric passport as this will be the most convenient way to participate in the scheme and will give people the full benefits of having the most secure travel documentation.
I am also publishing today a research report 'Identity Cards: an assessment of awareness and demand for the Identity Cards Scheme' which demonstrates strong public support for the scheme.