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Cambridge Liberal Democrats

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Julian Huppert MP

ID card cash could reverse hospital cuts

July 12, 2006 8:00 PM

As leaks reveal chaos within the government's controversial ID card and National Identity Register project, campaigners say that the money already wasted on it could have reversed Cambridge's NHS cut-backs.

Email leaked by a top civil servant confirms that the ID cards project is a "huge risk" with a "lack of clear benefits", and may collapse completely. In spite of this, an estimated £40m of taxpayer's money has already been spent on it, with another £60,000 being spent every day. Meanwhile, Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trusts (PCT) must

slash £28 million from budgets to meet government spending targets, resulting in ward closures and threatening services.

"At the same time as the government is forcing Cambridgeshire hospitals to cut services, it's squandering millions on this flawed ID cards scheme" said Cambridge MP David Howarth. "This money would be better spent on almost any public service."

With the National Identity Register already months behind schedule, the leaks reveal that Tony Blair is insisting that a face-saving "Temporary National Identity Register" be cobbled together to make it look as though the project is running on schedule.

David Howarth meets Cambridge students after local No2ID meeting

David Howarth meets Cambridge students after local No2ID meeting

"The government is wasting money on building two ID card systems when it hasn't even made a case for one" commented NO2ID spokesman Chris Lightfoot. "ID cards won't make us more secure, and they won't stop criminals - but they'll waste vast amounts of our money, and the database behind them would be an attack on the private lives and freedoms of every man, woman and child in Cambridgeshire."