back to article Identity & Passport Service in suicide bid?

All is not well - as we suggested might be the case this morning - at the Identity and Passport Service. Matter of fact, it may have just killed itself. A sad little note posted today by IPS reads: "Both Parties that now form the new Government stated in their manifestos that they will cancel Identity Cards and the National …


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  1. Alex McDonald 1

    Both parties that form the new govt?

    Strange wording. It's The Government, full stop, and I'm surprised to see this in advance of the Queen's Speech.

  2. Ralph B

    It'll all end in tears ...

    It would be regrettable if a disgruntled soon-to-be-redundant employee at the Identity and Passport Service were to start selling off batches of soon-to-be-abandoned-but-still-accepted identity cards to the criminal, terrorist and foreign covert operations communities (spot the difference if you can).

    Regrettable but, I suspect, inevitable.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    'How this will be achieved'

    Is it just me? I can't see that being particularly problematic to 'achieve' at all.

    And there's a certain note of denial in the words "applications can continue to be made for ID cards". Why?

    There's no point... 'cancel' means annul, end, terminate.

    And thank goodness. It was such a sinister, stupid, fascist idea in the first place.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    CleggCon Alliance?

    No its the Gleggeron, ruling the ConDemNation (ty Gareth) - much more RoTM

    1. Anonymous Coward

      They wlll probably sell the route of the truck carrying them for disposal

      Same as with the DVLA and the truck carrying blank vehicle documents a few years back. That had some serious help from the inside.

  5. Scott 19


    They'll be reviewing s.44.

    Sorry been down the pub celebrating a certain Mr Broon leaving, so my idealistic head is on. Enjoy it while it lasts.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    As it happens....

    As it happens, I appied for a job with them a couple of weeks ago.

    I'd jump at the chance if they offer it to me. Could be a very smart career move on my part.

  7. john loader

    Thank heavens

    Sense at last - once the last Government got the ID card idea it couldn't lose face and change direction. Maggie did the same with poll tax. Seems governments have great difficulty saying Ooops we were wrong

  8. JakeyC

    Cautiously Optimistic

    That this is announced within hours is hugely encouraging. Am reluctant to celebrate until the beast is truly killed off, but looks like I may be able to renew my passport and travel abroad in future after all.

    I'll drink to that!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, wrong...

      But in place of the poll tax we got the council tax. In comparison the poll tax was a beacon of enlightened government thought.

      The lib dems and their local income tax will be just as bad. Scrap the lot, bring back the local sales taxes. That way people only pay what they can afford, and the rich can't fiddle their expenses - nor will they need to.

      1. The First Dave Silver badge

        Sales Taxes

        Where have you been? Take two minutes to look for stories (just on El Reg) that refer to all the problems in the USA where they have different rates of sales tax in different locations...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Don't know if they still have it in place, but the old Italian VAT system was the fairest form of taxation around. VAT was levied on a sliding scale based on how much of a luxury an item was considered to be. For example a small capacity motorcycle would be considered mere transportation and would not attract much VAT, a large capacity bike would on the other hand be considered an indulgence and attract a high rate of tax. Under this system disposable income is effectively being taxed, rather than actual imcome.

          As for local purchase taxes, I've never heard that suggested as a replacement for council tax. I have, however, hear local income tax levies be suggested. It sounds like a fair system, but it would be open to abuse with the better off carrying on like MPs and flipping their primary residence in order to pay the lower rate of income tax. Even the less well off are likely to come up with ways to register themselves in districts with lower tax rates.

          Personally I would prefer that local taxation be abolished altogther. I can see no particular reason why local authorities should not be funded seperately. It would be easy enough to work out a rate based on such things as population, school population, miles of road maintained, etc. etc. Under the current system you can be financially penalized for living under an inefficient local authority, which is hardly fair.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ...'cautiously' is the operative word

      This monster will rise again, and maybe sooner than you think. Bureaucrats love control, and the ID cards + database is their idea of paradise.

  9. RichardB


    Wonder how many people will be looking for their cashback and details expunged?

  10. Luther Blissett


    An ID card has become very very valuable. All that's needed to realize this is (a) a market, (b) a mystique, and they could change hands for £££.

  11. Anonymous Coward


    The ConDem party needs to realise that, assuming the NuLab muppets in power drew up the normal sort of contracts of the past, we will end up paying the suppliers anyway. The suppliers will immediately axe their contractors (Thales were paying many people rates of £700 a day) and will make a tidy profit with no risk.

    I would have made them complete the design and build, with testing, but not made it go live.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      "I would have made them complete the design and build, with testing, but not made it go live"

      And had Labour been brought back into power, they would be just have to flick the switch to turn on Skynet.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @Idot - Get real

        flick the switch ? You actually think it would work ? A government IT project ?

    2. John G Imrie

      I think you are missing somthing

      With the LibDems in the Cabinet there are now a lot of very worried people out there. All that money given to Labour and the Conservatives and it's those pesky LibDems calling the shots at Business and Industry. Those same LibDems no one in Industry thought worth bribing, er giving a donation to. So expect some tough re-negotiating of Govt. contracts and especially PFI deals. I'm thinking that now may be a good time to short shares in EDS*

      *This should not be taken as Financial Advice, Shares can go up as well as down, bla bla bla

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Refunds

      If they were stupid enough to apply in the first place then they deserve to lose the money.

      As for expunged details, I will quote back what people like them seem so keen to parrot to others: "nothing to hide, nothing to fear".

      Let the foolish early adopters stay on there as a lesson to the rest of us.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Be Fair

        The scheme that the early adopters signed up to was termed a pilot. I think it's widely accepted that pilot schemes are, by their very nature, impermanent. So they can't expect a refund. As for its being accepted as a passport by other countries that will depend on the country concerned and its acceptance in that country is not within the control of the IPS.

        Didn't I also read somewhere (possibly right here) that the early adopters got a discount? If so then it's likely the people who did sign up were just trying to save money.

        I don't have a passport. I don't have an ID card. The only country I visit outside the UK is the Irish Republic and they are happy to accept my UK driving licence as ID - not that anybody has ever asked for it. I thought one of the great selling points of the European Union was that its citizens would not need passports to travel from one member state to another. What happened to that?

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Up


      "I would have made them complete the design and build, with testing, but not made it go live."

      Nice idea. However I believe Darling said the scrapping cost was "£40m" but I agree allowing contractors to insert these kind of poison pill clauses should be outlawed.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Stumbled across this story in the Daily Mail the the other week:

    Having worked on a project with this guy, the ConDem coalition will DEFINITELY have saved the country enough to pay off a whacking great amount of the debt.

    The project I worked on with him was originally budgeted at £9m and eventually cost £24m with loads not delivered.

    Same story as at the Borders' Agency that he was the project manager and employed his own staff. How do these consultancies get away with this conflict of interest?

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      *very* nice work if you can get it.

      Let me guess. All those con-sultants and con-tractors from his firm have done wonders for *his* year end profits.

      So how *did* he get it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        By his chairman donating to LieBore

        It is nice to have a company called capita or should it be ca-puta or probabli filo-de-puta or just puta?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      A story in the Daily Mail, you say.

      And this one would be completely factually accurate because...?

      I wouldn't be surprised if he was/is getting overpaid, but I would be surprised if it was anywhere near as bad as the Daily Fail say.

      I'm off for a cup of coffee now. It causes cancer. Or prevents cancer. Depends which day you look in the Fail.

  13. Harry Kiri


    E-Borders be dead - The belated phase i and ii may turn up one day but phase iii will not be delivered and certainly no more phases after that. Why there was so much development required and not off the shelf when Raytheon had an existing system in the US is an interesting question!

    A very bad expensive idea with poor requirements and no clear idea of delivery - amazing it was cut!

  14. Juan Inamillion


    Is this another euphemism like claggon, clagnuts or dingleberries?

  15. Mike Richards

    Family only, no flowers

    Can the Reg get a quote out of Meg Hillier, who on top of finding herself out of a job, now has a bit of plastic in her wallet that can't even get her out of the country*. Perhaps it'll come in handy if we keep having these frosty mornings.

    * Other question. Did she pay for that card, or did we?

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge

      Sadly ....

      she kept her seat

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I tried :(

        She's my MP (booo hisss) and I did vote for the opponent most likely to unseat her, but the trendy-leftie morons in Shoreditch voted her back in :(

  16. Anonymous Coward


    Shame... I was actually looking forward to getting an ID card. A convenient form of ID that didn't involve me learning how to drive a car or carry a passport. I didn't realize, though, that they could actually... so simply, scrap a scheme.

    1. Brian Davies

      What a lash-up!

      I got an ID card a few months ago because when I travel in Holland an ID card or passport is required to be carried at all times and in Spain it is expected by authorities and needed when paying by credit card. I was very happy to get one, now not sure whether it will continue to be a valid form of ID. What a mess! Will I get my £30 back ???

    2. Brian Davies

      What a lash-up!

      I got an ID card a few months ago because when I travel in Holland an ID card or passport is required to be carried at all times and in Spain it is expected by authorities and needed when paying by credit card. I was very happy to get one, now not sure whether it will continue to be a valid form of ID. What a mess! Will I get my £30 back ???

      1. carl 10

        Not needed in Spain

        I spent a few months in the Netherlands and never had any problem with being hassled for ID, however this was some years back now so am not really qualified to comment on NL.

        As a former resident of Spain I can tell you that you do NOT need a UK ID card to carry out card transactions. If you have a photo driving licence this is accepted everywhere (I think most people just take it for granted it must be an ID card).

        Also if you live in Spain you are supposed to apply for and be issued a tarjeta de extranjero, this is basically a Spanish ID card for non-Spanish residents (by the way, in Spain, coming from the EU rather than a former colony doesn't make you a better class of immigrant and get you off the hook on this like it does in Britain -rightly so I say, but that's another story).

        My local Policia Nacional were really slow/disinterested in arranging a tarjeta de extranjero for me and never pushed it. In the end I didn't bother pushing to get one and it didn't matter at all.

        I really don't think you need a UK ID card to travel/work/live in EU countries. As for getting the £30 back, I would say that is the least of your worries where UK ID cards are concerned.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          "I really don't think you need a UK ID card to travel/work/live in EU countries."

          You could have stuck with the first four words of that sentence.

          If you were to think for a moment it would probably occur to you that you need to do a little reading up on the subject. What paperwork you need as a UK citizen depends on the EU country you a travelling to. Some countries require everybody to carry some for of ID at all times. The fact you can get away with not doing so depends largely upon the fact that you don't have a run in with officialdom every day. Even in countries where you do not need to carry ID by law you will still, at times, be required to produce something to prove your identity - just as you do here in the UK. The forms of ID that are accepted vary from country to country. As has been previously mentioned a UK driving licence phtocard counterpart is widely, but not universally, accepted.

          Back in 1973 we were promised that we would not need a passport to travel within the EEC, but I suppose that only ever applied to travel, not to everyday life. A passport will always remain the best way to identify yourself no matter where you are.

          The one thing I will say for the ID card is that it would have been useful for those who did not hold, or indeed want, a driving licence or passport. There are those of us who consider a passport too expensive for the limitted use it would receive. The cost of getting a driving licence is astronomical, so pointless if you're not going to drive. If you are barred from drivign on medical grounds it isn't an option anyway. An ID card as a cheaper option did seem like a good idea. However the problem was that Pa Broon wanted to make possession of one of the three compulsory for every adult in the country and thats where the alarm bells should have started to ring. An optional ID card (sometimes called a non-drivers licence) is a good idea, it's easier than having to provide all sorts of crap like "two recent household bills" in order to prove your identity. A compulsory ID card is a bad idea mainly because it is a big step along the way to a police state. The only reason for a *compulsory* ID card would be so that the authorites could track your every move.

    3. NRT

      You, sir or madam, are a fool.

      You do not need to learn how to drive a car to get a (provisional) driving license.

      You do not need to carry a passport with you normally, it is occasionally useful, when you know that you will need to identify yourself.

      The ID card however was, while 'voluntary', likely to become essential. Want to prove that you can buy a drink? Show me your card.

      Get stopped whilst driving? Today you are told to produce the relevant documents at a police station within a reasonable time. With the 'convenient' ID card. You would be asked why you were not carrying one.

      Finally, some of us ancients on this site remember the abominations 'ID' has perpetrated in the past. I do not wish to see this repeated here!

      Rant over (and only one exclamation mark).


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Paris Hilton

        Almost right

        A provisional license is not accepted as proof of identity in most places, if you read the small print you'll find almost everyone specifies a full license.

        Mind you, anyone who's bought an Id card is still a bloody fool.

        Paris, still stuck in this bloody dire hotel room, send reinforcements...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The provisional driving licence costs what, £50? It does not require you to learn to drive (although you have that option, unlike a full ID card) and is a cheap form of accepted ID.

      That's what made the ID card scheme more ridiculous - there are already existing, less intrusive, less expensive alternatives for everything it could do.

  17. Arnie Sintheshed
    Thumb Up

    Best. News. Ever.

    That is all.

  18. sheila


    ...there will be no money for any of this nonsense.

    However there is a history of unpalatable policies being test-run on the Scots (think poll tax).

    The biggest assault on our liberties is being perpetrated in the guise of child protection.

    An awful lot of effort has gone into persuading the great and the good that the Scottish system

    (Getting it right for every child = Gathering information for every citizen)

    is less intrusive than the English ((Every Child Matters = Every Citizen Monitored).

    How much more intrusive can it get? This just the start of the information that is to be gathered for every citizen...

    ...and stored here

    Frame 17 really puts us in our place :(

    The evidence is growing that the eCare/Girfec model may be destined for further roll-out.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Err.... Not really much of a money saver

    If anyone thinks cancelling the ID card will be a way of saving a pile of cash then they seriously need to think again:

    (1) Will still need to pay for the contract for upgraded apps and infrastructure to deal with the new biometric passport, which is needed meet the yanks requirements post 9-11.

    (2) Contract cancellation fees for the ID Card part of the contracts will be far from cheap. Will be giving the suppliers lots of money for nothing.

    1. Rattus Rattus

      As a dirty foreigner,

      my opinion doesn't really matter on this, but I'll give it to you anyway. You're welcome.

      (1) Would it not be awesome if simply told the Yanks "No, we're not going to do biometric passports."? What do you think would happen? Would they bitch and moan but ultimately give in? Or would they close their borders to all Brits? I know your government won't have the balls to do this, but it's a fun thought.

      (2) Isn't giving the suppliers lots of money for nothing still better than giving them lots of money to help tighten the police state shackles?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        @Rattus Rattus

        Sooner or lter the rest of the world will realise what you and I already have. If we all tell the US to fuck off there is nothing they can do other than capitulate.

        Many US citizens are so insular and indeed paranoid that they would happilly have their lords and masters close the borders, but hell will freeze over (current global climate predictions notwithstanding) before the US figures out a way to operate independently of the rest of the world.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    We should have elections more often!!!

  21. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    It's not dead...

    until we see it lying in the gutter with a stake through it's heart.

    1. John G Imrie

      Be carfull what you wish for

      If this coalition fails?

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Intemperate language warning

    To all those within the IPS responsible for Identity Cards.

    You are a bunch of data obsessed power crazed assholes abetted by an equally disgusting group of politicians with either no concern or no understanding of the scheme they planned for the British people.

    The only suitable use for this abortion is the recording of your names and tracking to ensure you are never allowed to come close to inflicting this gross invasion on privacy ever again.

    Alternatively you could just fuck off and die in a corner.

    Normal temperate posting will resume once I have quelled my desire to vomit at the amount of money this project (and the other NuStasi spy-on-everyone-forever) projects have pissed up against the wall over the last 10 years. Tony Blair. You will NOT be forgotten.

  23. Winkypop Silver badge

    Hung, drawn and quartered....

    ....THEN it's dead.

  24. Bram

    ID Cards were dressed up as quite sinister but...

    I know that the previous governement was quite sinister in its delivery in biometric ID cards under the whole terrorism thing but the fact is we actually need a guaranteed method for identification.

    The amount of criminals who get get away with it because ID cannot be provided is a major problem. Our whole ID system is based on documents being identified as genuine rather than proof of identification. That's why someone wo is deported can purchase a different passport and return to the UK and the only way you can prove who they are is if you've seen them before under a previous name.

    The voting system requires no identification to enroll people or vote a good question would be how many people voted who were not entitled to.

    In a modern country of 60m people we need a method to identify people quickly how do we do this? because standard passports/driving licenses are not good enough and they are not compulsory and birth certificates are quite pointless in identifying someone.

    Countries in the developing world are implementing national biometric identification cards/passports and we are still using an easy to cheat system.

    1. Nick Pettefar


      I have lived and worked in Germany, Holland, Belgium and other countries with compulsory ID cards for their citizens and they suffer just as much fraud and crime as any other country. They only thing ID cards provide are more government jobs.

      1. the Accountant

        Double Bollocks! (d'you see what I did there?)

        ID cards just provide another - or conveniently single - item of identification to be forged.

        Anyway, ID cards are just another part of a flawed philosophy that security can be provided by bureaucratic checklist ticking followed by prosecution of the occasional paperwork-shy innocent rather than getting the Plod and Spooks out there catching the real criminals/terrorists.

        Rather like all the bloody money laundering regulations we have to waste chargeable time on....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          And another bollock for good luck...

          ID cards are just another way of hindering the law abiding citizen. No matter what you implement there will still be criminals. Just look at the likes of Nazi Germany or the USSR, did their systems eliminate crime? Like fook they did.

  25. Barry Mahon
    Big Brother

    Will the UK now join Schengen?

    If the UK joined the Schengen open border arrangements then the e-borders thing would never have been necessary. In fact if they had they'd probably have got EU money to implement it.

    Typically, the money it costs to keep UK passport people in Paris and their French equivalents in Folkstone could be save straight away.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Hassled for ID

    I had a run-in with some jumped-up cop in Greece, who was hassling everyone on our bus for ID (no reason was given, I assume he was just bored). I didn't have any form of ID, because we were just on a day trip... and about a dozen other people were in the same situation. He was most unhappy, but he couldn't detain or arrest all of us... safety in numbers that time, but I can imagine he could have been vindictive to an individual. Unpleasant, unnecessary and ultimately futile - I am glad to see the back of ID cards in Blighty.

  27. Hans 1 Silver badge

    Fellow Brits

    How many of you have learned counting? I read here and there that the British schools are useless. They scrapped grammar lessons a long time ago, have they done the same with Mathematics?

    Just how much does a Passport cost? And how much does an id card cost? Now, let's not be selfish and think how much this costs the state? Right, id cards are much cheaper, both for us and for the state ... hell, we can even save money with this!

    Now, since most countries in Europe already have id cards (ALL EXCEPT US), I get into trouble when I have to fill out some administrative papers, because they need my id card number, when I fill in my Passport number and pass the copy of my passport, I sometimes get the stuff back ... endless discussion is a passport the same as an id card ...

    You all seem to have the 1984 syndrome, you believe that it is bad when your government has you details, but ... you what must you provide to get a passport?

    Anybody who thinks id cards are a bad idea is dumb, no ifs, buts, or maybes about it!

    Getting flame-proof coat ...

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