26 April 2007. Immediate.
Section 37 of the Identity Cards Act 2006 requires the Home Secretary to publish his estimate of the ten-year cost of the ID scheme “before the end of every six months”. The first Dobson report  was published on 9th October 2006. The next report is now more than two weeks overdue.
Phil Booth, NO2ID’s  National Coordinator said:
What’s the big secret – why the delay? It can’t be lack of resources as there are dozens of highly-paid consultants doing nothing but planning the ID scheme. These latest cost estimates matter to local government and yet the Government is hiding the cost to councils, even from its own candidates.
The elections on May 3rd are a test for policy and the ID scheme is unpopular. 1 in 3 people across the UK, if we are to believe recently-revealed government figures , are expected to resist it. Labour Party candidates, whatever their personal views on the scheme, suffer when public attention is drawn to it. Is this yet another attempt to bury bad news?”
Notes for editors:
1) Frank Dobson MP (Lab) moved the amendment that created the report.
2) NO2ID is the UK-wide non-partisan campaign against ID cards and the database state. NO2ID is affiliated to by the National Union of Journalists:http://www.nuj.org.uk/inner.php?docid=1595
3) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6526225.stm – “A third ‘will refuse ID checks’”, BBC News, 4/4/07.
The Home Office is obsessed with keeping information secret – especially when it would make it look bad, campaigners said today.
Internal documents from 2004, at around the same time as the HomeOffice was punting figures to the press showing ’80% support for its ID card scheme, reveal that officials assumed that 30 per cent would refuse to carry a card.(2)
NO2ID General Secretary, Guy Herbert said:
It wants to be trusted with every detail of our lives, so what is the Home Office hiding? Everything it can.
We agree with the unidentified Home Office spokesman who said the documents were ‘incredibly out of date’. NO2ID has always said that resistance to the scheme was bound to increase when people realise the full implications.
Reputable polls (not optimistic Home Office guesswork) show public opinion has moved against the scheme by 30% (3) in the time the Home Office has been holding up this one Freedom of Information request.
Why is the Home Office still absurdly secretive about it? Because this scheme would affect the life of everyone in Britain. It would give the Home Office a role in every significant civil relationship you have. Yet it spends public money fighting the release of the most peripheral, dated information and mocks parliament by offering a three-line budget.(4)
(1) NO2ID is the non-partisan, cross-party campaign against ID cards and the database state. Visit http://www.no2id.net
(2) A Freedom of Information request by Liberal Democrat MP Mark Oaten
to the DWP in 2004 has just been upheld at tribunal: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6526225.stm
The documents themselves are here: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/pub_scheme/2007/apr/
(3) See http://www.ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/category/id-cards/
(4) The six-monthly Dobson report into the scheme’s running costs, included in the Act as amended by Frank Dobson MP, is due in April/May. The last one http://www.identitycards.gov.uk/downloads/costreport37.pdf was “12 pages of hand waving waffle, and only half a page of actual cost estimate figures” according to one commentator. There were actually only three independent numbers given.