It's looking like the financial crisis and government's burgeoning deficit could prove to be a progressives blessing in disguise: first Trident falls into question, and yesterday the Independent reported the ID card scheme could be the latest casualty.
“My sense is that ID cards will not go ahead,” a senior Cabinet Minister said. We have to find savings somewhere, and it would be better to shelve schemes like this that aren't popular.”
As the government struggles to to cut costs in the face of an unwieldy budget, multi-billion pound schemes such as these become ever more untenable.
Sunder Katwala, General Secretary of the Fabians, regards scrapping the plans as inevitable and suspects the MP's calling for it will soon be in the majority. Although he also highlights that this would not be the end of the fight, as biometric records would likely be incorporated into passports.
However, just today Jacqui Smith wrote a letter strongly denying the claim. She emphasised the government's commitment to the scheme and defended ID cards as “protecting the community against crime, illegal immigration, and terrorism.” She claims ID cards will pay for themselves through the fee income it generates – in other words we will pay for them directly, rather than through taxation.