ID card costs up £400 million

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The Home Office was today accused of burying bad news after revealing that the projected costs of its controversial national identity card scheme has risen £400 million to £5.31 billion.

Staffing costs have been blamed for the rise in expected expenditure, which covers a period between 2006 and 2016.

The government has been severely criticised by opposition politicians for coinciding the ID card cost announcement with Tony Blair's confirmation he will resign as prime minister on June 27th.

"It is no surprise that the Home Office has broken the law in delaying the publication of this report until a day like today," said shadow home secretary David Davis.

"The public will see through this transparent and pathetic attempt to bury bad news."

The Liberal Democrats meanwhile accused the government of breaking the law by delaying its six-monthly update on ID card costs, which was scheduled to be delivered on April 9th under the Identity Cards Act 2006.

According to the Home Office, parliament's Easter recess and the local elections had left today as the earliest available opportunity to release the figures.

Nevertheless, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg insisted: "This bad news has been illegally postponed, and is only now published a full month beyond the statutory deadline.

"That shows the depths of cynicism and media manipulation to which ministers are now resorting to ram this increasingly unpopular scheme through."

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