A senior Cabinet minister has sparked a flurry of speculation that the national ID card scheme will be axed to ease public spending and reduce Britain’s debts.
The controversial ID card scheme will cost the taxpayer more than £5bn, however cancelling the ID card national rollout, due in 2011, will cost £40m.
The minister, according to The Independent newspaper, is reported to have said: “My sense is that ID cards will not go ahead. We have to find savings somewhere, and it would be better to shelve schemes like this that aren’t popular.”
The Government has just signed contracts of £750m to set up a biometric database and upgrade passport applications, ID cards would be used in conjunction with the database.
Former cabinet minister, Stephen Byers, is the first senior Labour figure to admit that ID cards may have to be axed
He also suggested the £25bn replacement of the Trident nuclear missile system also be axed.
Speaking about Trident, the unnamed senior Cabinet minister source said: “There is a case for shelving Trident Two, but the number of jobs that go with it is just too great. I just can’t see us cancelling a Trident replacement now.”