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UK Lords block national ID plan over cost concerns

[JURIST] The UK House of Lords [official website] has blocked government plans to issue national identification cards [BBC backgrounder], objecting to three aspects of the proposal [bill text] including questions of cost. The Lords on Monday voted to halt the legislation until the anticipated costs to launch the ID card program were revealed, but government officials said making such information public could limit the government's ability to seek a deal from contractors. The Lords also approved stricter controls on storing personal information for the ID cards and on who may access that information. Some peers called the government's refusal to release its figures unconstitutional. The issue of cost was renewed when the London School of Economics [official website] issued a report [PDF text; LSE news release] on Sunday arguing that the UK Home Office [official website; ID card backgrounder] was not the proper agency to handle the program and that its numbers for cost were not accurate. The ID card plan, announced last spring [JURIST report] by Prime Minister Tony Blair, has run into stiff opposition in the time since, although it was narrowly approved in the Commons [JURIST report]. BBC News has more.

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