Yes to the cut-price passport - alias young persons ID card

A light has switched on in the Home Office. The IPS press release for the availablity of the Young Persons ID Card in London points out that it can be used as a passport across Europe. At £30 instead of £77.50 for an adult passport, of £49 for a child that is a saving worth having for those who do not wish to travel further afield    

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Er, not really.

What the Home Office seemingly doesn't mention in its press release is that you need to *ALREADY* have a passport in order to get an ID card. If you haven't had a passport at some point in 2009, you can't get an ID card at all. Hence your comparison is misleading - the total cost for an ID card is £77.50+£30=£107.50 (plus a lifetime of reporting requirements and possible fines for non-compliance), versus £77.50 for a passport (and no fines or reporting requirements).

That doesn't sound quite so appealing, does it?

If a bank or mobile 'phone company issued similarly misleading advertisements, its customers would call in the Advertising Standards Authority. I wonder if we can report the Home Office to the ASA? (But I bet I know the answer).

Comment from Philip Virgo - I thought it looked too good to be true

And we do need to bear in mind that the bright young spark who proudly stood in front of the cameras boasting about just how convenient the ID Card will be, may find out it's useless in four months time when the Conservatives bin the scheme. That's a very short lifespan credential for his £30...

It's all a bit circular. Why does an adult 10-year passport now cost £77.50? After all, in 1997, it only cost £18. The answer is, in part, that this huge increase in the price has been made to fund the development of ... ID cards.