back to article ID card scheme barely broke 13,000 mark, minister confirms

The Labour government's flagship ID card scheme attracted just 13,200 signups before it was finally put down by the new coalition, a Commons answer revealed yesterday. The figure is even less than the 15,000 figure being bandied around when the ToryDems confirmed that they would indeed scrap the white elephant/albatross scheme …


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  1. Graham Dawson

    "Card refunds or credit for a future passport application will not be offered."

    Good! Anyone stupid enough to sign up for this scam deserves to fwwl the pain of losing their money. Perhaps it will make them a little wiser in future.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My Bro-in-law got one

      When my sis told me a couple of weeks ago I was too gobsmacked to be as scathing as I probably would have otherwise been. Her point was that he wasn't at all happy that he was out £30. Ha fucking ha. They used to get the Daily Mail but I was delighted when they started getting the Indie when it went tabloid (which is when I _stopped_ getting it btw) but I returned to their place 6 months or so later and there was the Daily Express on their table. I asked what that piece of bigotted shit was doing there and I'm sure I don't need to elaborate on her answer... I didn't bother trying to explain the Stalinist raison d'etre of the ID Card scheme, seeing how she has expressed in no uncertain terms in the past that she doesn't care about, say, spyware (what with thinking all branches of the authorities and all businesses are completely honest and trustworthy and anything they do is by definition benign, indeed beneficent). Just stuck with the stuff I knew would get through to her and asked if she was aware that once signed up for the things you would be fined and could go to prison for not telling them your new address when you moved. She was astonished. And although I think half the stupid stuff she does she does _because_ I think it is stupid and otherwise she goes around on autopilot, I fear that her behaviour I have related here is the norm in society at large.

      Which of course those scumbags who hijacked the Labour Party back in the '90's were counting on.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so that's 0.0214% of the population then.

    You wouldn't call yourself a successful lover if you only manage to penetrate your girlfriend by 0.0214% - so why does the ex-government think that they get away with boasting about these crappy figures that they really ought to be quite ashamed of - given how Jacqui Smith was apparently getting her door kicked in daily by people who couldn't wait to give her a hug and a cup of tea and tell her all about how great they think the ID card scheme is.

  3. Greg J Preece

    Labour in lying-out-their-arses shocker!

    Are you suggesting Labour made up any old bollocks to support their unpopular policies? Surely you jest!

    1. Displacement Activity


      This is the bit I like:

      "former Home Sec Alan Johnson had predicted 17 million ID cards would be in circulation by 2017, a staggering 28 per cent of the population. He claimed the scheme would have paid for itself."

      Schemes can't pay for themselves; *we* would have paid for it. Twat.

    2. M Gale

      0.0214% = A little belly-button luvvin'?

      ...I'll get me coat.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Now there's a surprise

    Further confirmation the previous government were some of the most untrustworthy, disengenuous and dishonest bunch of scum to have been in charge of this country.

    The new lot will no doubt become as bad in the end, but hope they won't be quite so addicted to the kind of blatant lying a communist leader would be embarassed by.

  5. Mike Richards

    And half of those

    were probably issued to Meg Hillier just to make up for those she kept leaving behind.

  6. smudge Silver badge

    The final twist

    "The Identity and Passport Service is writing to each cardholder informing them of progress and contact details for further advice. Card refunds or credit for a future passport application will not be offered."

    But I hope that when the IPS gets these letters returned marked "not known at this address", they track the culprits down and prosecute them. Because it's surely an offence not to advise Big Brother of a change of address?

    A great opportunity to relieve these fools of even more of their money.

  7. Rogerborg

    Market forces, dears, market forces

    If I wanted an ID card, I could buy a pretty convincing "novelty" driving license for just £20, without having to fill in twenty pages of twonk in triplicate, or deal with Home Office mongers who're only there because they fluffed their Burger King interviews.

    Also, I could pick any name I want. I quite fancy "Bulge Boldly".

  8. Gav
    Thumb Up

    Win All round

    Given the inherent dangers to the whole scheme, in the form of both government equivalence and identity theft, those who wasted their money on this scheme should count themselves as getting off lightly.

    Unless, of course, someone somewhere is now finding another use for the database. I'm sure someone in government can find some use for a database of 13,200 mugs. And they can't complain either, because remember; if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    My only regret with Labour loosing the election... that if they had won, then THEY would have (eventually) had to scap the ID card system, which would have been even better :-)

  10. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    13,200 suckers. eh?

    Now that we have their names and addresses, I'm sure there are a lot of people who would be willing to defreay the cost of this abortive exercise in Stalinist government by offering to purchase said list...

    And when we've pumped that well dry, we can pass the list to the NHS for psychological research on the ability of some people to live without actually using their brains...

    Win all round, really...?

  11. Winkypop Silver badge

    Stink o' death [TM]

    Coming to a Government controlled IT project near you!

  12. Chris Haynes

    Wasn't this supposed to help?

    Damian Green replied, "There were approximately 13,200 identity cards issued before 11 May 2010."

    Approximately?! I thought the ID cards were meant to keep a track of people? How can they say approximately?

    SELECT COUNT(*) FROM GULLIBLE_DUFFERS might get the right number.

    1. Seanmon
      Thumb Up


      That's actually an astonishingly accurate summary of how any number ever read out in the House of Commons is generated. Except it's usually FROM POLITICALLY_CONVENIENT _ANSWER, of course.

      Result: Deep distrust of any number ever spoken by an MP.

  13. Anonymous Coward


    YE GODS!

    It just goes to show how completely vital ID cards are to the New Labour policies. Thank fuck they are now out of power.

    I still maintain they only got such a large %age of the vote because most labour voters simply vote labour "cos I did last time" or "cos I always have, haven't I?" or some other non-reason that means they don't have to think.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      or most likely

      "because the conservatives will take my dole money away"

      you heard that shit from Labour supporters even as *Labour* was taking their dole money away, or at least making them jump through more hoops to get it. unbelievable.

      If you depend on welfare you can pretty much expect to get bent over backwards no matter which party is in power. That's the threat that keeps the middle classes safely confined to their cubicles where they have no influence.

      1. Tzael

        Re: or most likely

        If someone depend on welfare but is perfectly capable of working then what on earth gives that person the right to complain? Hell I reckon people on the dole who _can_ work should be denied their voting privilege.

        It's nothing to do with keeping the middle classes safe. It's about people actually caring for more than just themselves. Anyone who _can_ work _should_ work. Plain and simple. Even if there are no paid jobs available those people can still earn their jobseeker's allowance by taking on volunteer work. I personally am sick and tired of the number of people I know who feel they deserve the right to sit on their arse while the rest of us pay for their upkeep.

        If people are scared of losing their benefits allowance then it's most likely because they know they're cheating the system at the expense of everyone else in the country.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Labour lost my vote

      The day they announced ID cards.

      It didn't matter what else they did, there was no way on Earth I was ever going to support a party that treated my like a criminal while simultaneously shoving me on a database that would have given Stalin a permanent boner.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next on the list....

    Now if they start handing out axes so we can chop down all the unecessary CCTV cameras, that would be a step away from the Big Brother state we had become.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I reckon.....

    ....these people who signed up should identify themselves to the rest of us so that we can offer sympathy. I suggest that they attach a little white flag with a red cross on it to their car.

    My gosh, that was quick - I hadn't even finished typing and one of these twonks drove past! I guess he must be feeling sorry for himself to own up so quickly!

    Remember, anyone who is seen driving with a white flag and red cross on their car is a twonk.

    Paris because you just know that she's got a slot for a card to slip into.

    1. FoolD

      National vs Personal Identity

      Silly white flag with a red cross - You mean St George's cross, the emblem of England ?

      How does supporting your country makes you a twonk ? Is that just a sweeping generalisation designed to link anyone with any national pride left with being a labour supporting idiot (oh the irony) ?

      Admittedly, having 6 or more of them on your car does point to a slightly unbalanced mind however.

      It makes one wonder why Englanders must be made to hate their national identity so much ...

  16. Andy Livingstone

    Deduct people like David Blunkett.....

    leaving no -one at all.

  17. Captain Mainwaring

    Is that all they could manage?

    " In March, former Home Sec Alan Johnson had predicted 17 million ID cards would be in circulation by 2017, a staggering 28 per cent of the population."

    When asked last year, the Home Office stated there were some 52 million valid UK Passports in circulation and over 80% of the population were in possesion of one. Since Labour's ID card was in effect little more than a sawn-off Passport as far as the end user was concerned, could they have not used Passports for the same purpose and pocketed the 5 Billion pound cost?

    Perhaps more pointedly, someone should have asked Alan Johnson last March how many years it would take for his ID card to reach the same level of public ownership that the British Passport enjoys today.

    It seems to me that Labour's only interest in ID cards was to build up a massive e-dossier on every man, woman and child in the country and use this monolith to monitor and control the poulation ever after. That and conforming to the norms and expectations of the EU of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "build up a massive e-dossier on every man, woman and child in the country and use this monolith to monitor and control the poulation"

      "conforming to the norms and expectations of the EU of course."

      You're repeating yourself...

      1. Captain Mainwaring

        Glass houses, stones and all that

        Same for many commentators here of course AC, yourself included. Perhaps this particular topic has been flogged to death now.

  18. Tzael

    ConDems are already bullshitting

    Those numbers are wrong, that's the number of fully-processed ID card apps. There are a few thousand more applications from people who like me, were waiting patiently for our card to be issued before the bad news hit. Our applications were in the system, but haven't been counted as part of the 13,000 total announced by the ConDems.

    After many years of wishful thinking we finally think we're getting unified ID. Speak to anyone who doesn't have a driver's license or passport and you'll soon understand just how important unified ID is, and given just how large a portion of the population have neither, and now can't get either due to a silly catch-22 scenario that requires photo ID to apply for either - it's just pathetic. Thank you ConDems for destroying the only viable form of ID for a significant number of people.

    Looks like I have many more years of being refused goods and services because I don't have photographic ID, and can't get a passport or driver's license without pre-existing photo identification. Have you tried obtaining a bank account without photo ID these days? Good luck. How about something simple like trying to purchase Glastonbury tickets? Hah, not going to happen. I've even been turned down for a job two years ago because the company required at least one form of photo ID to be included with the application to verify I wasn't an illegal immigrant. The Labour party recognised full-well the existing problem, hence the introduction of a unified form of photo identification that didn't require an existing form of photo identification to obtain it.

    1. Ed 11

      Golly gosh

      Good grief looks like we've found a Labour voter!

      Your catch-22 points must be a load of tripe, no? Are you seriously telling me that anyone who reaches the age of 17 without either a passport or driving license is faced with a future in which neither is obtainable? And that we got into a situation where no-one in the media thought to report on it? Please...

      Your Glastonbury point is absolutely a load of tripe. You had to upload a photo when you pre-registered to buy the tickets and this photo is then printed on the tickets, but at no point before, during or after the ticket purchasing process did anyone ask to see either my passport or driving license or any other ID for that matter.

    2. Nathan 13

      @ Tzael

      Its not rocket science to apply for a passport or driving license without photo ID, it really isnt. Even ive managed it once LOL

      And if you really truely believe the Labour party only introduced these cards for the reasons in your post you are sadly mistaken.

    3. Mayhem

      No need for Preexisting photo id

      Well you clearly haven't read the requirements for a drivers licence properly.

      If you do not have an existing passport or photo ID you can use your UK birth certificate plus corroborating documentation, from DWP or a school record or even just a pay slip.

      If you don't have a UK birth certificate, tell me again how did you enter the country without a passport?

      If you want a passport, you will again need your UK birth certificate

      Nowhere is a photo id a sole requirement for gaining either passport or drivers licence, assuming you are in fact legally able to obtain said credentials.

      Where is the fail again?

    4. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      No passport without photo ID?

      Of course you can get a passport without official photo ID - you just need someone (even an engineer) to say that the photo is yours.

      Unified ID just makes it easier to hand out the gold stars (and the pink triangles, crescents etc.).

    5. Captain Mainwaring
      Paris Hilton

      You might be surprised to learn

      Your assertion that a large portion of the population has neither a Passport or a Driving Licence I'm afraid is incorrect. It has been estimated that about 85% of the population has either one or both of these documents. That means that only 15% of the population is without any official government-issued Identity as such. That is why many people regard ID cards as an expensive White Elephant, as there is plenty of official ID out there already.

      I am rather surprised you cannot obtain a Passport without any existing photo ID. My grown-up daughter obtained a first-time Passport less than a year ago without any form of photo ID, although like all first time applicants, she had to go along for a formal interview at local IPS office armed with a Birth certificate, National Insurance card, etc.

    6. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Unified ID? No it wasn't, and it couldn't be.

      Getting a bank account without photo ID is easy.

      Would you like some Financial Services Authority advice? -

      I've never shown photo ID to get a bank account - the last one I opened I used a utility bill and a debit card from a different account.

      My wife is an immigrant, and she used a utility bill and NI number issue letter from the local Jobcentre. (Not the card - the letter it's issued with.)

      If you genuinely want some Photo ID, there are many available, such as one complying with the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (

      The prices of those cards appears to vary between £5 and £15, and don't come with a legal requirement to keep them updated every single time you move house or the other 66 items of data changes.

      As to getting a driver's licence? Have you ever tried?

      Check the DVLA website. You need a birth certificate and an NI card. You've got both of those, right?

      The photo then must be countersigned by someone who knows you who isn't family.

      There you go - not that difficult, was it?

      Finally, any job that insists on you sending photo id with the application form is almost certainly breaking the law, because they will be unable to prove that they aren't discriminating on grounds of age, sex or race.

      Furthermore, that's a perfect way for someone to steal your identity.

      Therefore, reputable employers don't do this.

      You should also ask yourself why that employer was so worried.

      The answer is that Labour have tried to screw you over with changes to employment laws, as they changed them quite radically with regards to illegal immigrants and importantly, they never properly explained to employers how the new laws worked.

      You can tell how simple these new employment laws are because the person who wrote them was unable to comply with them.

  19. Andus McCoatover

    Hmm. Mixed feelings.

    I'm not sure Tzael deserves the downvotes.

    Perhaps what's happened in Britain is that we've become vilified against the CCTV cameras - what - 1 per 14 of the population was the last figure I've seen.

    Both to me seem to have their values, and detractions.

    I live in Finland. I use my photo ID card to prove who I am, whenever I travel to a Schengen country, or need face-to-face service at the bank. Large-ish purchases by credit or bank card required (until 'chips and pins' became more common) the same. It's not intrusive, IMHO. Either a valid passport, my Finnish ID card, or my driving licence suffices*.

    I carry mine at all times, and don't mind it, nor being occasionally asked for it (three times this year, IIRC). Personally, it's no different to me than having to carry a unique key to my home.

    CCTV cameras can also prove guilt or innocence.

    * When I went into a Texas bank 3 years ago to change a travellers cheque, I was asked for TWO photo. forms of ID. I produced my passport, and my Finnish driving licence - both photo. ID's. The passport was accepted (that's how I got into the country, FFS), but the Finnish driving licence was rejected. "Because it's foreign" I was told. Jeeezus, if I wasn't foreign, why the fuc*k would I want to cash travellers cheques issued at Helsinki..

    When the cashier saw my Nokia badge, which I could have made on a Petite typewriter, she relented.

  20. RW
    Thumb Up

    Next on the list....

    Recognition that many (most? all?) jobs, sports, and other activities involve some degree of risk of death, dismemberment, disease, or injury. And then cancel all the ludicrous health & safety regulations that try to wrap all members of the population in cotton wool for their protection. H&S regs are probably the purest expression of nanny-statism, with the sub-text "we know better than you how you should lead your life."

    IOW, no more coppers standing by the side of a pond while someone drowns, lest they themselves get injured. No more bans on cheese rolling, three-legged races, and other traditional sports. And so on.

    And think of the savings that will result from firing innumerable bureaucrats and turning them out to find real jobs.

  21. Fading Silver badge

    Photo ID to get a passport?

    When have you needed photo ID to apply for a passport? Absolute nonsense. More importantly though how would anyone apply for a UK national Identity card without a Passport - from the national identity service guidelines:

    However, to apply you must:

    be 16 years old or older

    hold a UK passport that was valid on or after 1 January 2009

    live in the UK

    be a British citizen

    I have no sympathy for anyone who lost money applying for their own freedom to be taken away from them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "CCTV cameras can also prove guilt or innocence"

      Indeed they do, so you won't mind having one in the corner of your bedroom, will you. Most rapes occur in the home, after all.

      1. Andus McCoatover


        I won't mind one in my bedroom at all. Damn all happens there nowadays.

        Many folks (so xhamster seems to prove) set their own up and broadcast their shenanigans widely, so my figure of 14:1 might be a bit low.

        I can always pop a condom over it, after all. Or the other sock....

    2. Greg J Preece

      What is on your ID card?

      I don't object to ID - I carry enough of it. Between my credit cards, my photocard driver's licence and the passport I keep....somewhere, I have all the ID I need to prove who I am. And that's point 1 - the ID cards proposed simply weren't needed. If you really needed approved government ID, what the hell was wrong with a passport?

      The second - and more valid point in terms of comparison with other schemes such as your own - is that our ID card wasn't just "this is me" ID. It was going to be linked to a very large, very costly database in the background, containing far more info than is really necessary. And you know full well how isolated that system would have remained if ID cards had been widely accepted. Function creep all round.

    3. Richard 12 Silver badge

      I'm not against the *card*

      I'm against the massive privacy and freedom breach that the backing database indicated.

      Does the Finnish ID card require more information to be provided than the minimum for a Schengen region passport?

      - That's name, sex, date of birth, nationality, fingerprint* and photo.

      Are you able to allow the card to expire or cancel it, and thus forgo the benefits?

      The Labour ID Card scheme asked for all of those plus a lot more, and insisted that you keep them all updated forever or face a large fine and possible imprisonment. It was also impossible to back out of the scheme at a future date.

      *It's worth noting that the international passport standards do not require a fingerprint, and current UK passports do not include one.

      1. Andus McCoatover

        Fingerprint not included.

        Actually, my Finnish ID card is my driving licence*

        As I stated, mixed feelings, but it's nice to go into, say, a video rental shop and simply have them scan the barcode on the licence, no need for paperwork.

        * ** scroll to the bottom of the page for the latest version. The only fingerprints on it are from whoever handled it.

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      1 more time. For all Europeans in the house

      The UK ID is *not* the system many other European countries have. An official document saying who you are and where you live.

      It's not *about* the ID card as such.

      It's the f^&king "National Identity Register" database. With the linking of *every* piece of identiy data about a subject (not a citizen, the UK is a parliamentary monarchy) including their biometrics, in 1 handy (hackable) database administered by a *large* number of fairly badly paid (or "bribable") staff.

      The UK is not Finland or Estonia. IIRC its about 6x bigger than *both* put together.

      BTW I recall that when Germany invaded Sweden the Swedes destroyed their central ID registry to stop it being used. IIRC Finland was invaded by Russia. I'd wonder if they did the same thing.

      1. Andus McCoatover

        "IIRC Finland was invaded by Russia"

        IIRC? You must be old to remember that correctly ;-)

        Yep the Ruskies invaded Finland, and the Finns saw them off in the Winter War. Outnumbered 10:1 by the Russians, but the Finns kicked their butts into - well, the next century.

        "The UK is not Finland or Estonia. IIRC its about 6x bigger than *both* put together."

        So, kindly explain how a little country like Iceland can

        a) Fuc*k the financial system of Britain

        b) Fuc*k the airline system of Britain.

        Ta muchly.

        1. M Gale

          *toctoctoc* These Finns are crazy...

          "Yep the Ruskies invaded Finland, and the Finns saw them off in the Winter War. Outnumbered 10:1 by the Russians, but the Finns kicked their butts into - well, the next century."

          Consult the Great Google (or Wiki). Research "molotov cocktail" and this makeshift weapon's history.

          Yep, the Finns are crazy mofos. Taking on tanks with a bottle filled with petrol? Daaaaaaaaamn.

          1. Andus McCoatover

            ...a bottle filled with petrol?

            Are you daft? It'd be Koskenkorva, AKA "Finnish White Wine" in the bottle. Vodka's a close approximation.

            If there wasn't a German tank nearby, they'd probably just drink the fuc*ker (Methalated spirits being in short supply in wartime...)

            (By heck, you should see this place on a Friday night. I don't go to town if Friday coincides with dole-day).

    5. Geoff Campbell


      Health and Safety regulations are perfectly fine and well-written, and have resulted in a huge improvement in working conditions for almost everyone in the country. Seriously - have you actually read them?

      Where it falls apart is the mis-representation of those regulation by the mass media and by ignorant fools who think they know what they are talking about, but don't.


  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paid for itself?

    "In March, former Home Sec Alan Johnson had predicted 17 million ID cards would be in circulation by 2017, a staggering 28 per cent of the population. He claimed the scheme would have paid for itself."

    Paid for itself? What difference does it make if it is coming from central taxation or by charging citizens fees for the card? The citizens still have to pay the cost either way.

    I think it is just an example of Labour's attitude towards the population.

  23. Frederick Karno


    Mathematics was not the Governments strong suit thats for sure, a long hard look should be taken at all their projects.

  24. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Vale, ID cards


  25. Ascylto
    Big Brother


    Five of the ID applications were sent by me to various MPs, Councillors etc., WITH their names filled in so they couldn't use the forms again. You could only order 5 online otherwise it would have been more. Freepost, too! (Yes, I know I eventually pay).

    As a marker for stupidity and living in a parallel universe ... they chose Manchester to pilot the scheme. The very place which had overwhelmingly rejected their pisspoor plans for a Congestion Charge!

    What a bunch of ouanquerres! We're well rid of them!

  26. theloon
    Thumb Up

    Excellent news

    No one wants it and we can't afford it...

    My optimism grows a little more for a common sense Government for the next few years... fingers crossed

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