ID cards compensation costs £2.25m

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Indy Politics

More than £2.25 million of taxpayers' money will be used to compensate private firms after the Government axed the ID card scheme, Immigration Minister Damian Green has said.

Abolishing the cards and associated register was one of the first pieces of legislation introduced to Parliament by the coalition Government.

But the cost of cancelling the contracts topped £2.25 million, with up to another £400,000 being spent on decommissioning the systems and destroying the personal data, Mr Green said.

He revealed the figures in a letter to former home secretary David Blunkett following a question on the issue.

Mr Blunkett said: "Millions of pounds have been poured down the drain, not to mention the removal of a benefit freely chosen by thousands of people to help protect their identity.

"We are looking here at £2.25 million which has been thrown away for no purpose whatsoever.

"If identity cards and the work that had been done had been maintained, people would have been able to choose to continue using the card as a passport for internal and European travel.

"The data would not have had to have been destroyed - as it was given freely by the individual - and we could have integrated the data into the biometric passports which, in years to come, will doubtless become mandatory for international travel."

Of the total £2,253,000 to be paid in compensation, more than £2 million will go to information systems firm Thales, £183,000 to technology firm 3M and £68,000 to Cable & Wireless, the figures showed.

Thales will also be paid up to £400,000 to decommission the ID card systems and destroy the personal data.

Thousands of people, including Mr Blunkett, are believed to have been issued with the £30 ID cards and will receive no compensation.

Abolishing the identity cards system was a key manifesto pledge by both Tory and Liberal Democrat leaders.