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Secure Transactions News

UK ID to be abolished

Thursday 10 June 2010

The figures were released with documents published to accompany the Queen's speech. In her speech delivered at the state opening of parliament, the Queen said: "Legislation will be brought forward to restore freedoms and civil liberties through the abolition of identity cards and repeal of unnecessary laws."

Home Secretary Theresa May said the National Identity Card scheme will be abolished within 100 days with all cards becoming invalid. Legislation to axe the scheme will be the first put before parliament by the new government - with a target of it becoming law by August. The 15,000 people who voluntarily paid GBP 30 (EUR 35.70) for a card since the 2009 roll out in Manchester will not get a refund. Ms May said ID card holders would at least have a "souvenir" of the scheme.

Along with this announcement, it's emerged CSC and IBM will escape any serious financial impact and simply have the scale of their tasks reduced.

CSC is operating the 10-year, GBP 385 million (EUR 453.9 million) application and enrolment contract. A Home Office spokesman told The Register that because the technology will be used for passports and in issuing ID cards to foreigners - which will go ahead - the firm will not be affected.

Likewise there will be no significant impact on IBM's seven-year, GBP 285 million (EUR 366 million) National Biometric Identity Service deal. It will now only need to store biometric data relating to passports and asylum applicants, however.

The only ID card contractor facing the exit is Thales. The Home Office said it is in negotiations to part ways on a relatively meager GBP 18 million (EUR 21.2 million) deal to build the National Identity Register. A spokesman declined to discuss what settlement the government hoped to achieve.

David Blunkett, the former home secretary, said he was considering suing the Government for the GBP 30 (EUR 35) cost of his ID card, after it was announced that holders of the documents will not be compensated when they are abolished.

Mr Blunkett accused Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg of exaggeration and hyperbole and self-deception over the supposed intrusiveness of the national identity register and the savings available from abolishing it. He said that scrapping the cards won't change anything for anyone out there but will make it harder for security services to fight terrorism and for the Government to clamp down on fraud and misuse of the NHS.