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UK Government Uses Taxpayers Money To Promote ID Cards

LibDems.org | February 2 2005

Liberal Democrat research shows that the Home Office is using taxpayers' money on market research to promote its ID cards policy.

Civil service guidelines on public opinion research clearly state that "it must be relevant to and justified by the needs of the policy or programme", and must not be for party political purposes.

However our research shows in the three studies done on the issue:
· Researchers argued with the interviewees to persuade them the scheme would benefit them.

- Concerns were dismissed as 'speculation and rumour'
· The research excluded all groups who opposed the scheme

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Mark Oaten MP said:

"The only point of this research is to help the government to sell its plans for identity cards.

"Time and again, the people interviewed came out with common misconceptions about the supposed benefits of ID cards, yet when people voiced doubts about the scheme the interviewers actually tried to argue with them to change their minds. This is a clear abuse of government guidelines and of taxpayers' money.

"The public deserve to be told the truth about identity cards. They won't prevent terrorism or illegal working. They will cost each and every one of us a small fortune. And they run the risk that we will wake up in ten years time in totally different kind of society - one in which every movement is watched and every visit to the bank, the hospital and the post office is recorded by the government".