Friday, 31 July 2009

UK's national ID card unveiled

Home Secretary Alan Johnson unveils the new national ID cardHome Secretary Alan Johnson has unveiled the final design of the new national identity card. Ministers plan to launch the £30 biometric ID card nationwide in 2011 or 2012 - but it will not be compulsory. As former-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith had confirmed back in May, the card will be offered to members of the public in the Greater Manchester region from the end of this year. However, they will not be compulsory for pilots and airside workers at Manchester and London City airports, as it had been previously hoped that an 18 month ID card trial would take place at the airports.

Are you confused what information an ID card will hold? View this guide to find out. The ID cards themselves will look like this:

What the new ID cards will look like
Speaking at St Pancras Station in central London, Mr Johnson said the card would provide people with a 'safe and secure' way of proving their identity. He hopes that the card will help combat identity fraud, enable the holder to travel to Europe without their passports and remove the hassle of using bank statements or gas bills to show who you are, he said. Below is a news broadcast of Mr Johnson talking about the ID cards.

However, various politicians and groups have spoken out against the ID cards:

  • Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: “The scheme will cost hundreds of million pounds more, even if the cards are voluntary. It is time this scheme was completely scrapped. ”

  • Phil Booth, national co-ordinator of campaign group NO2ID said: “This so-called voluntary scheme means a lifetime of fees and penalties and once you are on the database you never get off.”

  • Chris Huhne of the Liberal Democrats said: "A designer piece of plastic is not going to combat identity fraud, crime or terrorism. This intrusive scheme should be scrapped immediately."

What do the people of Greater Manchester think about the ID cards? Below is a news broadcast featuring the views of local residents.

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