“As is normal, these contracts have been written to protect the public purse with standard clauses in the event of termination,” Ms Smith said.
The Government has been accused before of tendering to several companies for the ID Card project in order to make the folly expensive for an incoming government to cancel, rather than for reasons of efficiency.
Notwithstanding the lack of confidence in winning another term that this betrays, Ms Smith’s comments are a little baffling. If the contracts have been written to ‘protect the public purse’ then why have they got expensive cancellation fess built in to them? The government seems to acknowledge that the Conservatives want to scrap the plan, and that they are possibly going to form the next government, so structuring the contracts in this way is clearly not ‘protecting the public purse.’
Ms Smith went on to say that the cost of cancelling the contracts was likely to be £40 million:
Interesting that she thinks £40 million is a lot of money to spend for no benefit, when the cost of the whole scheme is estimated at £5.75 billion – or roughly 144 times as much as scrapping it.
Ms Smith is quite right to point out that there are other priorities that will not receive funding if an incoming government scraps the scheme and thus wastes £40 million (as a result of the contracts this government has signed). It sounds as if she has failed to take into account the £5.35 billion that it will save, and the priorities that can be spent on.
Kevin Barron has consistently voted in favour of the ID card scheme, although in correspondence he has refused to explain what benefits he sees it bringing.