ID card plans conflict with Brown-commissioned Treasury report

ID card plans conflict with Brown-commissioned Treasury report

Draft report of alternative plans for ID management was ready six months ago

The government's national identity card scheme has failed to take into account many of the recommendations of an independent report on the scheme that was commissioned last year by Gordon Brown when he was chancellor.

The report by former HBOS chief executive Sir James Crosby recommends that ID cards should be free, that the scheme should be subject to review by the Information Commissioner and that information should not be passed on to the police – all aspects that have been ignored by the government.

Crosby acknowledged the likely differences with the government plans.

"The government may not regard its ID cards scheme as the best way to stimulate
the creation of the universal ID assurance system as envisaged in this report," he wrote.

An ID card scheme should be consumer led, said Crosby when launching his report.

"First and foremost our identity belongs to us, no one else," he said.

"The potential of any mass ID system such as ID cards therefore lies in the extent to which it is created by consumers for consumers."

There is a history of tension over between the Treasury and the Home Office over the Crosby report.

The report was originally due to be published with the budget in March, but has been delayed - despite a draft being ready six months ago.

While the draft report recommended a fast rollout to gain a critical mass of users swiftly, the Home Office plans unveiled yesterday have significantly slowed the roll out of the scheme with cards no longer being compulsory for those renewing passports.

The Home Office denied that the rollout had been delayed for political reasons, or that the scheme was the subject of disagreement between the Treasury and the Home Office.

"The plans announced may actually lead to a faster rollout in the long term, " said a spokesman.

"The home secretary Jacqui Smith has talked to Sir James Crosby on each point of his report carefully - there is no disagreement between the Home Office and the Treasury over the scheme."