Socialist Worker

Identity card costs spiral as ‘interrogation centres’ open

by Guy Taylor
Issue No. 2077

Plans for ID cards are in danger of sliding into farce as hold-ups have again delayed the scheme.

The government, which is already in turmoil over the costs of the ID cards and national identity register, has now called for a “technology review”.

Figures released by the home office earlier this month show that the total estimated cost of the scheme has risen by £65 million since last year.

But the real cost is likely to be far higher.

The scheme involves new ‘interrogation centres’, which have started to open in some parts of the country.

First time passport applicants are being targeted for interview.

More than 25 percent of those questioned will be immigrants – with half being young people.

James Hall, the head of the government’s identity and passport service (IPS), has also announced plans to issue 50,000 biometric visas to non?European Union foreign nationals in the coming year.

The fees charged by the IPS have yet to be decided.

But the service happily declares that, “The cost of the scheme itself will, like the cost of issuing passports, be recovered from fees, so there is no question of diverting resources from elsewhere.”

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Tue 13 Nov 2007, 17:50 GMT
Issue No. 2077
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