You will pay for ID cards, and you *will* like it!

Clare Coatman
29 April 2009

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.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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