The government has, for the first time, admitted publicly that it cannot justify its controversial £5.4bn National Identity Scheme in financial terms.
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The admission came from James Hall, chief executive of the Identity & Passport Service, in a response to the report from the scheme's external watchdog, the Independent Scheme Assurance Panel, published this week.
Hall said, "Many of these benefits [of the NIS] may be hard to quantify and potentially harder to articulate in financial terms within the scheme business case."
Computer Weekly has maintained since the scheme's inception that the government has not made a convincing business case for the scheme. It called then for the government to publish its Gateway Reviews that assessed the scheme's viability. The government fought in court to keep these details secret, even in the face of recommendations by the Information Tribunal to publish them.