ID card costs on the rise

Spending on the set-up costs of the ID cards scheme will more than double this year, the Identity and Passport Service's business plan has revealed.

Spending on the set-up costs of the ID cards scheme will more than double this year, the Identity and Passport Service's business plan has revealed.

The IPS began formal operations this month, following the enactment of the ID Cards bill. It will oversee the introduction of the national identity scheme as well as taking over the existing passport service.

Figures in the IPS's business plan for April 2006 to March 2007 show that spending to set up the ID cards scheme will rise from £25m in 2005-06 to £56m in 2006-07.

The plan also sets out the agency's key tasks, which include completing the roll-out of a newly designed ePassport, with additional security including a biometric chip, during the third quarter of 2006.

"From late 2007, we expect to pilot the recording of additional biometrics for passports [fingerprints], which will enable us to create second-generation biometric passports designed to keep us in line with developing European Union standards," it says.

The IPS also intends future releases of operational passport systems to support electronic checking of birth, marriage and death information from late 2006.

The new agency announced its new top team earlier this month, with Katherine Courtney, former head of the Home Office's ID card programme, becoming executive director of business development. Alan Barnish continues as acting chief executive.

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