Wednesday, 6 May 2009

ID cards coming to Greater Manchester in autumn

As rumoured in a previous blog entry, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has now confirmed that residents of Greater Manchester will be the first in the country to get identity cards. As of autumn, anyone over 16 in the city with a UK passport will be able to apply for a card online from the Home Office. For the 1st 2 years the cards will cost £30, then after this there will be an additional cost of £30 for each card bought in a post office or pharmacy. For now the ID cards are voluntary, but they are expected to become compulsory in the next few years.

Smith claimed that the ID cards, "will deliver real benefits to everyone, including increased protection against criminals, illegal immigrants and terrorists". In relation to why Manchester was chosen, James Hall, chief executive of the Identity and Passport Service, said: "We wanted a sizeable metropolitan area with a good diversity of population and a large number of young people. Manchester fitted the bill, particularly with its universities and colleges”. Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Phil Woolas has identified another benefit in the card in that it would, “replace up to six other documents” as it would carry all the same details of a passport and driving license. Are you confused what ID cards are? Click here for some answers. View a News Broadcast of the story here

However, there has been some opposition to the plans for ID cards. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats want the £5bn scheme scrapped, and some Labour MPs have expressed doubts about its cost. For example, Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: “Manchester is being used as a guinea pig. It makes no sense that if you live in the area you will pay for an ID card, but not if you are just visiting. ” He also stated that he believes people on low income shouldn’t have to pay for them, and that in the current economic climate can people afford to purchase new ID cards.

Here’s what the people of Manchester have had to say about it

No comments: