Cancelling identity cards cost £2m says city MP

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Former Home Secretary David Blunkett
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SHEFFIELD MP and former Home Secretary David Blunkett has found out the Government is paying £2.25 million in compensation to suppliers after cancelling contracts for the identity cards scheme.

The Brightside and Hillsborough MP received a written reply from Immigration Minister Damian Green, revealing details of previously confidential negotiations with suppliers which Mr Blunkett queried last June.

More than £2 million will be paid by the coalition to Thales, £183,000 to 3M and £68,000 to Cable & Wireless - £2,253,000 in total.

Thales is being paid to decommission ID card systems and destroy the personal data held, which could result in payments from the Government of up to £400,000.

Mr Blunkett said: “We are looking here at £2.25m which has been thrown away for no purpose whatsoever. If identity cards and the work that had been done had been maintained, people would have been able to choose to continue using the card as a passport for internal and European travel.

“The data would not have had to have been destroyed - as it was given freely by the individual - and we could have integrated the data into the biometric passports which, in years to come, will doubtless become mandatory for international travel.

“What was supposed to be a massive money-saving exercise which Nick Clegg claimed would fund 3,000 police officers can now be added to the growing list of broken promises, misconceptions and downright untruths perpetrated by this Government.

“Millions of pounds have been poured down the drain, not to mention the removal of a benefit freely chosen by thousands of people to help protect their identity.

“We have still not been told when the cost of the passport is to be reduced, in the light of the fact the current fee was intended to take account of second-generation secure biometrics, which the coalition have also short-sightedly binned.”