November 3, 2004 9:24 AM PST

ID cards to double U.K. passport fees

The United Kingdom's biometric ID card plan will cost the government approximately $922 million a year by 2008, causing the price of new passports in the country to more than double.

Home Secretary David Blunkett revealed the cost for the controversial plan at a Home Affairs select committee hearing Tuesday.

The proposed cost of the standalone biometric ID card will actually drop to 15 pounds ($28), but the cost of the separate passport will increase to 70 pounds ($129) from its current fee of 42 pounds ($77).

Starting in 2007, all U.K. citizens applying for a new or renewed passport will pay a higher total fee of 85 pounds and receive a separate compulsory ID card, containing either iris, facial or fingerprint biometric data, in addition to their passport.

The total cost of rolling out the ID card plan, which includes a National Identity Register database of citizens' details, is predicted to be as much as 3 billion pounds ($5.5 billion), according to the Home Office.

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