Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The problem with Dobson's cost amendment

Frank Dobson MPThe government bought off rebels in the Commons yesterday by accepting an amendment from Frank Dobson MP that requires the Home Office to report on the cost of the ID card scheme every six months. However, this will not cover the costs in other government departments. And isn't the whole problem that the Home Office has refused to provide accurate costs so far? Why should it agree to do so in the future?

Worst of all, the Home Office has used "commercial confidentiality" as the reason to hide the scheme's costs — and the Dobson amendment allows them to continue to do so:

(4) If it appears to the Secretary of State that it would be prejudicial to securing the best value from the use of public money to publish any matter by including it in his next report under this section, he may exclude that matter from that report.'.

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