Monday, October 09, 2006

They "misunderestimate" again

Press hooha today over the latest government "figures" for the ID card project. The latest estimate comes in at £5.4 billion - far short of the £19 billion suggested by the independent study carried out at the London School of Economics.

Trebles all round? Perhaps not. It looks as though there have been a few oversights in coming up with this figure. For a start, 70% is pledged to the rollout of "next generation" passports. Not the cards, just the passports. How much is the rollout of the cards, card readers, face scanners and fringerprint readers going to cost? Apparently not more than 30% of £5.4 billion.

But wait - it's worse: another 15% is budgeted for the IT costs. That's just £8.1 billion in IT costs. Compare this to the £12.4 billion already spent on the NHS IT fiasco, not to mention the £15 to £20 billion it is estimated will be required to make the NHS system workable. The Government just can't seem to get IT projects right (see entries on this blog passim). The identity register will be no more straighforward than the NHS project, with plans to share data throughout all Government departments.

So that's only £8.1 billion left over for all of the other costs - rolling out the plastic, the readers, the scanners, the manpower, the cost of chasing conscientious objectors (of whom there will be at least 11,365). And the up-front costs of consultants, advisors, PR agencies and feasibility studies are already eating into this at a rate of £63,000 per day.

Look again at the report by the LSE. Whose figures look more credible?

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