HC Deb 10 December 2003 vol 415 cc497-8W
Lynne Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what period of time he proposes that identity cards should remain valid. [140510]

Beverley Hughes

We expect the validity period of the card to be 10 years.

However, in order to ensure that the cards, which incorporate technology features such as a microchip function, are reliable, it may be necessary to replace the cards after five years.

The costs estimates which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary set out in Command Paper 6020 were based on the assumption that this automatic replacement card would be provided free of charge.

The scheme would also include an allowance for having a lifetime card validity period for those who have been in retirement for some time.

Foreign nationals coming to the United Kingdom for more than three months would be issued with a card valid for up to five years depending on the conditions of their clearance. For foreign nationals granted permanent residence the validity period for their cards would be on the same basis as that for British citizens.

Sir Teddy Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the cost of introducing identity cards in the UK; and what assessment he has made of the likely benefits. [141327]

Beverley Hughes

[holding answer 8 December 2003]My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced on 11 November that the Government have decided to begin the process of introducing a national identity cards scheme following the consultation paper published in July 2002.

The Government are determined to ensure that the development of a national identity cards scheme is managed to the highest standards, and that the major business change and IT challenges which we face are dealt with effectively. A Programme Board has been established, chaired by the Home Office, to co-ordinate and drive forward the different elements of the identity cards scheme. Progress at every stage will be monitored and reviewed as further decisions are taken during the implementation. Before decisions are taken on implementation, there will be an intensive phase of feasibility assessment and prototyping so that decision making is soundly based and risks in the programme are kept to a minimum. Once the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has confirmed that the programme is ready to proceed, by means of an OGC Gateway Zero review, we will publish draft legislation to enable the scheme to be introduced.

Set up costs for the first three years have been estimated at £186 million. Costs thereafter will be covered by charges. It would not be appropriate to publish more detailed information while we prepare options for procurement and implementation of the identity cards scheme. However, we are continuing to work with potential suppliers and partners to ensure estimates are accurate, realistic and deliverable.

An identity card scheme will provide a number of benefits including to help deter and prevent illegal immigration and illegal working and to combat identity fraud enhancing our capability to counter terrorism and serious and organised crime. Identity cards will make it easier to prove entitlement to public services and faster to prove one's own identity for public or private transactions, enabling individuals to assert their identity and that they belong here as well as protecting an individual's own identity from identity fraud.

John Thurso

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the public services for which devolved administrations have responsibility and which he envisages will be included in the compulsory card scheme. [141174]

Beverley Hughes

[holding answer 2 December 2003]The powers and responsibilities of each devolved Administration are governed by the Acts of Parliament which established them and by any relevant Transfer of Functions Orders and post devolution Acts.

It is intended that the draft Identity Cards Bill will include enabling powers so that in the future access to specified public services could be linked to the production of a valid identity card. In the case of services for which the devolved Administrations are responsible, decisions on whether the identity card should be required for access to these services would be a matter for them.