Cost of biometric passport 'over £100'

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Indy Politics

The cost of a biometric passport and identity card has risen above the £100 barrier after the Government announced that the scheme would cost more than £5.6bn over the next 10 years.

Campaigners against ID cards said the bill could rise further after the Home Office's Identity and Passport Service (IPS) admitted there were "uncertainties" over the cost of the scheme and there was a "significant probability" that its estimates would change.

The £5.6bn total is £71m up on an estimate made by the IPS in April, but £138m down on the figure reached a year ago. The IPS said the drop was because it was expected that, in future, people would delay renewing their passports, resulting in a drop in demand. Predicted production costs for passports and cards had also dropped.

Under the Identity Card Act, all foreign nationals in the UK will be required to hold biometric ID cards from 2008 and all UK passport applicants will be issued with them from 2010.

Applicants for identity cards in 2009 may end up having their fingerprints taken in post offices or travel agencies, as negotiations have begun to find private outlets to supplement the national network of 70 new ID card offices, IPS chief executive James Hall said.