Home Secretary Charles Clarke is to unveil the government's latest plans for compulsory ID cards.
Mr Clarke acknowledged genuine worries had been raised but insisted the new plans answered concerns raised by shadow home secretary David Davis.
The Liberal Democrats and some Labour MPs are also opposed to the scheme for civil liberty reasons.
Do you welcome the latest plans for compulsory ID cards? Do you think the cards will help with identity fraud? Or are they an infringement of civil liberties?
This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
Even the Inland Revenue does not have the amount of information the government is proposing to collect for the national identity register, and if they have then why spend £6 billion re-inventing the wheel?
Colin Simpson, Workington Cumbria
Italy, France and Spain are all cited on here as having ID cards. They also all have crime, and terrorist attacks. So just what are the ID cards doing? Not much by the look of it.
Here in America we carry at least 3 types of ID. A state driving license, a social security card, a passport and for some people military ID (mostly retired military).What's next? Eye and brain scans? What happened to the days when people just carried one piece of ID?
Neil, Sacramento, California USA
The supposed threat to our civil liberties is already a dead issue. What meaningful interaction is possible these days without at least one form of identification? The information already held on us all is huge and covers every aspect of our lives anyway. Why we should pay for it is another matter.
Stuart Wright, Fleetwood, UK
I can only just afford to live now, but paying up to £100 for a ID card that I don't want means either going hungry or not paying a bill. Because I'm a single young man whose working I don't get any help.
James Carr, Gloucester
Who cares? We can't even buy a bottle of 100 aspirins anymore in case we have spur-of-the-moment suicidal desires, so does it matter that the nanny state is gaining ground, since it's already started and no one really cares?
James B, UK
The technical issues with these cards seem almost prophetic of their use. The technology has problems with people the darker their skin is, the older they are, if they are disabled.
A Sweeting, Leicester, UK
I carried an ID card for 20+ years, so I have experienced some of the perceived advantages, but the National ID is flawed in many ways. No scheme is free, taxpayers will pick up the burden for low incomes or all cards. More importantly, they are negative on many counts. I noticed the comments from overseas card holders, who now feel "insecure" without them, good mental health conditioning there.
Crime rates are unlikely to fall, unscrupulous retailers will still sell to under age young people. How will an ID cards stop non-entitled access to health care? If it's an emergency the A&E department will treat anyway. Benefit fraud? Is the problem greater than 0.6 Billion? Far more worrying is the further increase in integrating a national "database of databases" along with recent "extended powers" such as the RIPA, and the use of ASBOs against peaceful protest. All being integrated with European SIS databases. The cards are not the cure.
Mark, W-s-M, UK
British Citizens living in the EU need them. Currently we are one of the very few nationalities who need to carry their main passport or a copy thereof to pick up mail at the post office, open a bank account, take international flights within Europe, etc. Germans, Italians, French etc. do these things using their national ID cards. Why this national paranoia about ID cards? ID cards are perfectly innocuous if their holders are too!
Roger Oliver (British Citizen), France
The prospect of ID Cards frightens me. I do not see them as a means of "controlling" terrorism or reducing crime, but as a step towards state control of our lives - all "done for our protection" of course. Pity about our civil liberties and freedom which will be casualties of this need to save us.
Roger Axon, Modbury, Devon
I strongly support the plan for compulsory ID cards for anyone 16 or above. However I would like to see the government charges us £30 for the first issue and £80 for lost/stolen/defaced cards. It should be free for renewals. E-border controls can be introduced at ports of entry and this has been used in Hong Kong already successfully. We should always look at the examples overseas.
Paul Chu, Winchester, England
If terrorists have no problems putting bombs all over the place in Spain (where ID cards have existed since time immemorial), why should it prevent any of the evils put up as excuses so far?
Successive governments have demonstrated that they cannot deliver any computer related system without serious problems - passports, tax returns, working family tax credit, child support agency just in the last year or so. This is due to the fact that they get mainly US based companies do the work for huge profits and appear to care little for the end product. Why will this be system be any different? And why should we pay for it?
Phil, Bradford, UK
I'm 78 and might not still be around when these ID cards arrive. However, I shall probably look into the possibility of emigrating to a democratic country like Norway. I am already sick of living in the new Labour police state; if I were still able to work I would have gone ages ago. Frankly I weep for the great country the UK used to be.
Peter Franks-Lovell, Lancing West, Sussex
I can't believe the childish comments written here. If they're representative of the anti-ID card lobby then cards should be introduced immediately. Claims that "the government could put anything onto these cards" (like what? Favourite flavour crisps?) or even that "they'll provoke a civil war" are absolutely ridiculous. Equally the belief that "the government will create a massive database holding all our personal details" ignores the fact that the Inland Revenue already have such a database.
Spain has ID cards. They didn't stop the bombings. When will this government realise that a society's cohesion comes from the inside. It is not forced upon people. ID cards will make this law-abiding person an outlaw. I bet a newspaper comes up with a fake card the day after they are introduced.
Tony Brandon, London
I have always carried an identity card since 1967. First in the Royal Air Force and then a BAA pass in the airline industry. These passes have always been accepted as a clear proof of my identity. It would be advantageous for every citizen to be conferred with equal benefits. The cost should be borne by the organisation that requires the issue of the identity card.
Peter Black, Ferryhill, United Kingdom
I live and work with English people and find that ID cards would just be another excuse for the national\local media to scaremonger the public in to selling newspapers and news broadcasts. Why don't the general public just stop being cowards, by trying to be strong.
Khan, London, UK
I don't understand the British hysteria against ID cards. You already have far more of a big brother state than the other countries of Europe. You have CCTV cameras which monitor your every movement, and anyone who knows your post code can find out virtually everything about you. I have lived in Belgium for over 30 years and therefore carry an ID card. Whole years go by and I never have to show it, but if I ever need to prove my identity at the Post Office or a bank it is invaluable. If I were to have an accident it will ensure that my family are informed immediately. I am looking forward to the day when it also contains all my medical data too.
Dave Skinner, Brussels, Belgium
ID cards will make the problem of identity fraud worse, not better. This is just another way of invading privacy, using the hyped-up threat of terrorism as an excuse.
Ian Pegler, Aberystwyth, Wales
Before the election, ID cards were being banded as the biggest weapon in the war against terrorism in this country. Then it all went quiet while the general election took place. Now ID cards are back on the agenda, but this time they're now being used in the war against identity theft. Come one, Tony, tell us the real reason for the cards?
The argument that ID cards would only threaten people who have something to hide is ridiculous. The people who will suffer from this scheme the most will be people from ethnic minority groups, who will feel constantly under surveillance just to make sure they're not "illegals" or "terrorists". The idea is as preposterous as it is repugnant. Is this the mark of a progressive and pluralist society?
I most certainly do not welcome the ID card. This is my country, not the governments. The government are here on a five year lease; I am here for a lifetime. Why should I have to prove to them who I am? I pay taxes, surely the government work for me, don't they? I absolutely refuse to subscribe to a system that requires me to carry my papers around with me whenever I go out, in case big brother wants to check up on me.
lan, Beverley, East Yorkshire
How much they will cost is irrelevant - I just do not want my country to become a state where everyone is tracked and a record of our movements is stored on a government database. You would have to consider every movement you made, the data collected would never be used in your favour, significant judgements about you would be made based on it, and when there were mistakes in the data you would never know.
James, Nottingham, UK
I hope this ID scheme will work but from my own point of view it won't because people can always get away with anything. They say there are many ways to skin a cat. If someone don't have one, they will definitely get one and no one will know it's bogus. We hear of people with bogus paperwork managing to work, get a loan or mortgage and even travel to and from the UK. I believe this will continue happening with ID cards or not. I don't think ID cards will change anything.
Tracey Chitengo, Luton, UK
ID cards will not lower crime. South Africa has ID cards and a high crime rate. All South Africans have fingerprints taken for their ID cards. Also the cards could be used as in South Africa in a controlling racist manner by the state if it so chooses. Blair should dump the card and rather employ more Police.
Peter Ross, London
I just don't trust the government on this. First it was to combat terrorism, now it's just ordinary criminals. What next Big Brother? And to what end - experts' opinion on whether it will have any benefit is evenly divided and for that we have to give up principles of liberty? I'm unconvinced and unless it's compulsory I won't have one. I'd support a campaign against them if they are introduced.
I have nothing more to say that hasn't already been said, what I do have to express is my emotions. Currently such emotions are fear, fear and fear.
The best method for identification (iris scans) has a 96% identification rate. That seems high, but it means that 4 out of every 100 people the police stop will appear to not be who they say they are, and presumably detained. The identification rate for black people is poorer, so they will face a disproportional risk of being detained.
I totally agree with compulsory ID cards for the simple reason that it would tackle illegal immigration. It's a better way of dealing with illegal immigrants. Whether we like it or not, illegal immigration is a problem in this country and the sooner we deal with it head-on, the better.
Gbenga Williams, London, UK
"Hey, there's the Houses of Parliament! Watch me, I'm gonna blow em up! Oh hang on a minute, I can't, sorry, I've got one of them ID cards in my pocket. Damn, wished I'd left it at home."
I already carry photographic identification when I believe it will benefit me. It's called my driving licence. I don't want another card, I don't want to become a criminal for forgetting to take it with me and I certainly don't want to be expected to pay for not only my card but cards for every whiner who bleats that they can't afford it. If so many people are in favour of this crackpot idea let's make the cards voluntary and see just how many people stump up their £85 for the card of their choice.
The cards will have very little if any impact on reducing crime, illegal immigration or identity fraud. The Government simply keeps trying to justify the cards by finding new 'reasons' to have the cards. Civil liberty is far more important.
Malcolm Clark, Devizes
I'm surprised to see so many negative reactions on the ID cards. It will rule out so much mess and fraud when used correctly and be easier for everybody. Welcome progressive ideas and modernise the society or do we want to be left behind in time?
Ninety odd pounds for something that erodes privacy, facilitates rather than prevents identity theft (computer systems always break down eventually), makes criminals out of those who are no threat to anyone and will make a fortune for organised crime (who will always be able to forge documents, however sophisticated they are). ID cards are an appalling idea, made worse by what I believe is the true reason the govt wants to introduce them - the National Identification Register. There is simply no reason why this should be permitted.
Brian Beesley, UK
As one of a substantial number of people whose irises have changed considerably through illness, and again during medical treatment, I very much doubt that iris recognition technology is anything like as foolproof as the government claims it is. Quite apart from that, I feel extremely uneasy about these cards because, presumably, the government will have carte blanche to put anything it likes on them.
I spend much time in Bulgaria, and I have Bulgarian family. They cannot do anything without producing their ID card - yet fraud is rife. It encourages red tape and obstruction and the fraudsters will only be a matter of days behind. I think the debate is lost now as "mama" Blair shoves this through. But there is no way, absolutely no way we should be expected to pay for them.
David Child, Needham Market, Suffolk
As a British expat living in a country where carrying an ID card is compulsory, I have learnt how terrible the cards really are. They are asked by everyone for daily tasks, going to university, for almost every operation at the bank, at the cinema, you name it, they ask for it. What's worse is that the police have powers to arrest you and detain you for 4 hours if you are not carrying your identity card, for the flimsiest of pretences. This has not yet happened in Britain, let's hope that the ID Bill flops.
Chris, Paris, France
I know people who came from Soviet dominated countries to settle in Britain. The biggest liberation they found was to throw away their identity cards. Shame that we want to rush like lemmings into abandoning our freedom to control freaks like Blair.
Whilst fully in favour of ID cards (though not the ridiculous cost), I do wonder what documents we will have to provide in order to obtain one? If these documents are easily forged then the criminals won't need to forge an ID card, they can just collect them like stamps.
Ellie Thompson, Southampton, UK
One of the reasons touted for the introduction of these cards is prevention of terrorism. Presumably when an immigrant comes into this country legally the data fairy will magically imprint the fact that they are a terrorist onto his/her card? Or will a police officer check the card, see that the card does not say "this man is a terrorist" and, relying upon the cards as they will inevitably do, send them on their way. Lazy policing, lazy controlling government, discrimination of an insidious nature on a vast scale - I thought we had seen the last of this in 1945.
Paul, North Yorks
I don't believe they are worth it on balance - I'll stick with my passport, thank you. I used to live in an EU country with compulsory ID cards - crime and corruption at all levels were worse than here, and the police also used them as a means to harass people.
Joan Walsh, Chelmsford, UK
In countries that already have ID cards, it should be fairly easy to show how effective they are at stopping ID fraud, terrorism or any other crime. My understanding is that it makes no difference whatsoever what kind of identification you carry, or if you carry any at all. Since none of the government's reasons make the slightest sense, they must want them for another, perhaps more sinister reason.
Paul, North East England
ID cards will do nothing to prevent terrorists, illegal immigration, identity fraud or whatever pathetic reason is scraped from the bottom of the barrel next. However, they will be very useful for instigating civil unrest, persecution, rioting and possibly civil war.
A Sweeting, Leicester, UK
Until recently, no-one could force me to withdraw money from an ATM (as happened recently to an old lady), because I never had a PIN. Now I am forced to have one, and am less safe because of it. Identity cards will put us all in danger of identity theft, just one card lost or stolen and how can you prove who you are? This is a recipe for control, and has no advantage for ordinary people.
I'm in favour as a means of increasing the efficiency of coordination between public departments. The number of times I have had to produce a different batch of documents for different offices is annoying and highly inefficient. One identity card like some other European countries would do away with a lot of this. The resulting government savings through efficiencies should surely be enough to pay for the card. Civil liberties? Nothing is absolute and this restriction is, for me, a welcome trade-off.
An ID card for the UK is absolutely terrific and well overdue. Whilst one might legitimately argue over what is the right system to choose, the principle is totally right. I have yet to hear of a single sensible reason against the principle of an ID card. I am fed up of people thinking of spurious excuses not to support this move. All decent people in this country really need to work together on this one, to help the Government introduce the best possible type of ID card.
Arthur Riding, Reading, Berkshire
I am all for identity cards, but only like the ones we had during World War II. I am definitely against a database held on any such card and paying for them. Blair wants us to have them so let his government pay for them. Seems like Orwell's 1984 might be coming true.
J Wooley, Hastings
Blair's really using his final term wisely, isn't he? So, take away your civil liberties, have a huge database on you and make you pay for the privilege? Whatever will they think of next?
Chris Wrigley, Horsham, UK
ID card plans are pointless. Criminals ignore the law, therefore they'll ignore ID cards, or forge them and bribe/blackmail/corrupt someone into their favour who can "fix" things. They serve no legitimate purpose and in my view they breach human rights.
Allan, Whitehaven, England.
ID cards linked to a massive national database are the nightmare people like Orwell have been warning us about for decades. All the "reasons" they wheel out to try and sell it to us (first it was terrorism, then asylum seekers, then identity theft) are all just excuses. It's just power gone mad. Why do they need to do this? I just hope enough people see through it so that it can be stopped.
Dave Phillips, Worthing UK
I think it's a great idea. A lot of other countries have ID cards, whereas here we have no way of confirming a person's identity officially. An ID card will eventually ensure our own safety and security and if you have nothing to hide, an extra card in your wallet shouldn't be such a big deal! I feel confident that it will lessen the crime rate, either way it can't hurt.
Hazel, London, UK
This is a very ominous and worrying idea, no one seems to be explaining exactly how these cards will solve problems, why they will cost so much and why we will be forced to carry them. And assuming that they are somehow magically infallible and not forgeable, is like saying the Titanic is unsinkable. What we need is more police and better border security not ID cards.
Theo, London, UK
I already have a passport, National Insurance card, bank card and driving licence! I can't believe the government wants me to cough up nearly £100 for another piece of identification
Genevieve Bovee, Luton
This is an infringement of civil liberties, I for one will fight these plans. This is not the future I want to pass on to my children. Our ancestors gave their lives to give us freedom, we must call for a referendum and vote against this insanity.
Craig Smith, Sheffield England
Many people say that if you have nothing to hide then you shouldn't mind ID cards. Unfortunately this argument could just as easily be used to justify the police installing CCTV cameras in your living room to watch your every move. I bet people wouldn't be so glib about that. I personally see an ID card as a licence to walk the street which is an abhorrence in a truly free society. I vote NO!
Forget ID cards, I'd be more than happy to see a mandatory DNA database and would happily be on one (never having done anything wrong). Just watch rapists and other undesirables who think they've got away with crimes pour out of the country. Better a police state than a lawless one. I couldn't care less about the "civil liberties" of those who wish to prey on us.
Stuart Edwards, Hitchin, Herts, UK
Just like the poll tax before it the ID cards will fail, purely because so many people will refuse to use them! It's a waste of money and another attack on civil liberties!
I think the idea of ID cards is an idiotic idea. Why does the government need to keep so much information on us? Are we a police state or something? And how long will it be before someone figures out how to forge them? Or even hack into the government system and retrieve every scrap of information about you?
Gareth Turner, Tonypandy, South Wales
If the ID law is passed, I won't carry it! They can put me and everyone else in prison if they want to. The reason the ID card is required is to stop illegal immigrants. If they stopped them getting here in the first place, the MPs wouldn't be trying to play catch up!
Ian Whittaker, Northants
As a member of the Armed Forces I have carried an ID card for over 30 years, and often found it extremely useful. However, I am not sure about the biometric data being held on a central database and I certainly would not be willing to pay for the card.
If I thought that illegal immigrants and terrorist would be deported, or that criminals abusing the system would be dealt with more harshly then I would be in favour. Unfortunately, this will not be the case so it will all be a huge waste of the taxpayers' payers money. As for civil liberties, if you don't intentionally break the law you have nothing to hide.
This is bonkers - and the "identity theft" argument is poor. I have just had to hand over copies of my passport to estate agents (selling my house) and a bank who I just started working for to "comply with anti-money laundering regulations". Any unscrupulous person using my passport copy in these circumstances could instantaneously clone my identity. The government have truly lost the plot if they think ID cards will solve the problem - they'll provide a quicker route to identity theft.
Mike, Cambridge, UK
The proposal for ID cards is a truly serious attack on our civil liberties. However, the danger does not lie in the ID card itself, but the Orwellian national database that lies behind it. The arguments for this put forward by the government about terrorism, fraud etc are fallacious. The real reason is to compile an extensive database of information on all citizens for monitoring and surveillance purposes. I am a free-born citizen of the UK and I do not need government permission through a compulsory ID system to exist.
The real reason is to compile an extensive database of information on all citizens for monitoring and surveillance purposes
Rose Reeve, Bradford, UK
I think national ID cards anywhere is bad in any country. Here in the US there are talks about a national database with everyone's name and fingerprint. Here in the US we are already given a number so the government can keep track of us. Isn't that enough? Next they will be wanting eye scans and then it will be like the movie Minority Report. And I do not want that to happen.
Sarah Wright, Woodland, California, USA
I am totally against ID cards. How long will it be before we are arrested for forgetting to carry a card. It will resemble living in an Eastern block country. I also begrudge paying for a card I do not wish to have. Will diseases that people carry be added as info for the nanny state too? This is the beginning of the end as far as civil liberties go.
I'm all for ID cards but not for paying for them. If the government want us to have them they should be free
Kathy Anderson, Bradford, West Yorkshire
I am concerned about the threat to our civil liberties. I resent the need to carry identification in order to walk the streets of the country of my birth.
Valerie Seddon, Romford, Essex, UK
In theory I'm all for carrying ID cards. I think it will be beneficial if we have to prove our identity when we go to the bank, to get benefits and perform other activities where there's a lot of problems with fraud. But I fail to see why it should cost so much and why the UK can't co-ordinate ID cards and driving licences the way they're able to in every other country.
With the amount of money that these cards will cost, surely it would be better spent on recruiting police officers or training existing ones in tackling identity theft in the first place?
Greg Kitchin, Aberdeen
As a resident of France where ID cards are mandatory, I have asked on several occasions my French friends about ID cards. Their responses have been unanimous in that they would feel very insecure without them.
Graham Pridding, Colombiers, France
To suggest that this is just a way for the authorities to intimidate the public is frankly ridiculous. If one receives free benefits, health services or your identity is rightly questioned by service providers or the police then you should be in a position to prove who you are. I'm all for ID cards - the big issue for me is the cost. The price paid should be means tested with only those who can afford it paying the full price.
Martin, Kidsgrove, Staffs
I see no problem with carrying an ID card. I see a massive problem with making people pay for something they are making mandatory that is as far as I can see, of no particular benefit. I don't feel it infringes on my civil liberties, just my bank balance.
Victoria, Portsmouth, Hants
I have a problem with the ID cards debate. I have yet to see a coherent argument for ID cards - the government needs to justify the need for their introduction and the arguments thus far are paper thin. Note how the emphasis has changed from terrorism to immigration to identity theft as each argument was rubbished. Nanny state here we come!
I don't get it. Why do some people think it's so easy to commit identity theft when the new UK ID card contains biometric data? Granted, one could forge signature, photo, birth certificate but unless one is a top rated professional, it's a real hassle copying someone's iris or fingerprints. However, to make this scheme effective, compulsory ID cards would be necessary.
Yang, Shanghai, China (presently in the UK)
ID cards were abolished following the World War II, following the bad feeling and tension introduced between the public and the police. Do we want to go that road again. More expensive, controlling initiatives at outrageous expense to the taxpayer.
Maria Johnson, London
It is merely another tax. In Italy, we have ID cards but they do not cost the rip-off that British people will be subject to. Then will everyone be forced to have it with them all the time? What if you have left it at home? Straight to jail?
Why do I need an identity card? I know who I am and my family knows who I am. If anyone else wants to know I'll tell them who I am, providing I believe they have reasonable cause to ask me. And as for a policeman supporting ID cards, why am I not surprised, it's just another way to bully the public.
Andrew, Brighton, England
Another one of many authoritarian and confrontational practices for this undemocratic government, together with their friends in Brussels who show an equal lack of democratic accountability. Great news however for Britons biggest growth industry, the Civil Service.
Nick Dodsworth, Kettering, Northants
These cards will not solve any of the problems they are supposed to. Do people really think that a piece of plastic, that people don't have to carry or show, will really help stop crime? And do we really trust the government to keep our details secure on a remotely accessible database (especially when the management of said database is outsourced to some inept private company)? I imagine that this database, rather than prevent identity fraud, will actually increase it.
David Chivall, Bristol, UK
The idea of the ID card is not a bad one but for the government to expect the public to foot the bill in addition to their ever-increasing tax burden is quite unacceptable. If they are to force this upon us, the funding should come from the taxes that have already been collected.
Steve Bevan, Chelmsford
Unless up to no good, carrying an ID card cannot possibly be anything other than an enormous benefit. If you sit down and list the pros and cons I am certain the pros will certainly outweigh the cons, and for many reasons not actually thought about thus far. Many senior citizens will already have a driving licence complete with photo. Infringement of civil liberties is a lot of old tosh - no one worries about that when applying for a passport.
Patricia Moore, Portsmouth, Hampshire
There is no evidence that ID cards will have any positive impact on crime or terrorism. In fact, they will provide a single route to identity theft. In addition the whole project will cost a huge amount of money which would be better spent elsewhere.
Mr T. Knight, Cheltenham
The price of these cards is extremely prohibitive. I earn a large salary and can afford them easily but I also happen to know that many people in this country will just not be able to afford them. What will the government do then? Jail them? If the public must have these cards and if the government honestly believes that they are an absolute necessity then by all means give them to the people - free of charge.
Anon, Cheshire, UK
I do not welcome the latest plans for compulsory ID cards. ID cards are too effective in controlling the common man, while totally ineffective in controlling those at the fringes of society. Paid for they are a tax on existence. I have already held my vote on this, ID cards being my main reason for not voting Labour at the recent elections.
Grant, Herts UK
Why such an outcry? What's wrong with carrying around a piece of plastic that contains important information? The only people who should be afraid are those with something to hide. I have nothing against my name, so it makes sense to me. But having to pay for it?!? Not a chance.
Simon, Leighton Buzzard, UK
Well, at least if people have to forge ID cards then it's one more thing to forge... Anyone who is against these cards simply fears they will not be able to get away with minor crimes anymore.
Steve Wilson, Nottingham, England
There is a thriving market in false passports, false driving licences and credit cards. All we need is someone to undercut the government's prices on ID cards and most people will be customers for a forged ID card. Did I hear someone say they can't be forged? What colour is the sky on your planet?
Clive, Birmingham, UK
I am totally opposed to ID cards. This is the type of system that Nazi Germany used to segregate people. My father fought in the World War II to end this type of control. Experts agree that they will not deter the professional fraudsters. This is an excuse for more state control.
Anthony, Redditch , England
As a retired police constable I am very concerned about immigration and identity crime and consider identity cards are a "must". They are not an infringement on civil liberty and are essential to protect civil rights.
Paul Parsons, Hull, E Yorkshire
The purpose of ID cards is to the authorities to intimidate the public. There is no other purpose for these cards. That is evident in the complete absence of scenarios for their use.
Jim Barty, London
I'm a British citizen living in Italy and as I have Italian residency I also have an Italian ID card. Having an ID card makes life so much simpler, for example in the bank, and I don't feel at all that my civil liberties have been threatened by having it. What have so many people got against the government knowing who they are? Why not combine it with the driving licence and have two documents for the price of one? It seems that all governmental schemes are written off as a sham before they've even been launched.
Abby Jones, Milan, Italy
ID cards are a waste of time - they will not stop identity fraud. All they will do is make us poorer by whatever amount it costs to compulsorily buy one every few years. Maybe some politicians have shares in the companies that are producing them.
John Kelly, Cardiff, Wales
These cards will definitely help in the long run in the times we live in, with terrorism, a soaring crime rate and more and more kids drinking at a young age these cards will help on a larger scale than that of just identity fraud.
Adam Whitehurst, Stoke on Trent
ID cards are an excellent idea - for any totalitarian government. Of course, criminals will easily avoid the problems, but it will help anyone with access to the data - and we have been told this will be many thousands - target innocent people of the 'wrong' religion or ethnic origin or age. Imagine how useful biometric ID cards would have been to the Nazis.
Glyn Davies, Farnham, UK
I think it is a great idea and do not understand why some people are worried about it. I carry a driving licence, bus pass and my old ID Card from 1942! I am sure I can find room for one more.
Pat Hutchinson, Ambleside, UK
The compulsory nature of these cards alongside the high volume of complex information to be held on them shows the ever increasing 'criminalisation' and mistrust of people in the UK by the government. It is crazy to think that this will stop crimes when there is no deterrent nature. Another case of the government not knowing how to tackle problems such as terrorism.
Rachel, Swansea, UK
ID cards could put an instant end to under-age drinking by requiring proof of age before serving alcohol to young people.
Peter Sargent, Halifax
I have no objection to carrying an ID card, I have nothing to hide, and it would be useful to show that I am entitled to certain health benefits etc - what I do object to is paying up to £100 for it. If it is to be a compulsory system, then it should be provided free of charge.
Rachel Davis, Gloucester, UK
Having been a soldier for 29 years, carrying an ID card would be no problem, I believe it is a good idea, my fears are that after such debacles as the CSA, education, crime and welfare how well would this current government handle such a huge undertaking, and how would they stop all the asylum seekers presently on the run here from obtaining one? I see it as another large income for the criminal fraternity.
Alfie, Yarmouth, Norfolk
Absolutely against compulsory ID cards. Criminals and terrorists will simply forge them - cheaper probably than stumping up an extortionate £85 per person. It will make little if any difference to identity theft, and even if we trust the current government to treat the data with care how can we possibly know what a future government might do with it. Once they have the data they will use it. If you think this is a good idea go and read Orwell's 1984!
Antony, Heathfield, UK
A great idea, well worth the expense. Should also include medical details, blood group, allergies, organ donation status etc to help medical staff if required.
Steve Wallis, Eastbourne, UK
I don't understand why instead of asking everybody to carry their passports we are introducing a separate piece of ID. Surely the British passport can be adapted to include biometric ID on it. Can anyone else out there explain why this wouldn't work? Why have two bureaucratic systems instead of one?
Joe Gould, London UK
An excellent idea, and they should be linked to DNA and fingerprints to make catching law breakers easier. And why do people complain about paying, I agree the price is too high, but we will pay either directly or through taxation so the argument for 'free' cards is invalid.
Graham, Twickenham, UK
Anybody who has applied for a driving licence recently will realise that, with the supporting documentation required (eg birth certificate, photograph and witness statement), this is in fact a de facto national ID scheme. If we are to have a full scheme, why not build up on the driving licence?
Simon Newell, Solihull, England
Just because most of Europe has ID cards doesn't mean we should. After all, there are a good few countries who use the Euro or have a flat tax rate, or have National Service, or have trains that run on time, or have good education and health services. We're in no danger of being troubled with those more 'useful' items so why ID cards?
Darren, York, UK
The only people who can object to ID cards, like photographs on bank cards, are those who have something to hide. We can all however, object to paying for one if it becomes compulsory. We also have to ensure that issue of such cards is not open to as much fraud as passports, driving licences and birth certificates are.
Simon, Northwich, Cheshire
I am wholly opposed to the idea of ID cards. Are our identities to be reduced to pieces of plastic? This goes to show how the national electorate is seen more and more as a commodity by politicians, rather than as human beings. Would they reduce crime and terrorism? No. It won't stop anyone nicking your car or exploding a bomb. Tackle the problem head on by arresting and punishing criminals adequately. Don't penalise the rest of us by making us pay ?85 each for yet another initiative that is doomed to fail.
Gareth, Derby, England
I wholeheartedly support ID cards. Most European countries have a similar system. Any help to reduce crime should be welcomed. What is all the fuss about?
Fran, Leeds, UK
I have no problem with identity cards but £85 represents my food budget for about three weeks. If this compulsory, it should be free.
The national ID card scheme is a load of old rubbish. Say No to this handcuff, no way can we let the government bully us into close-minded living.
Joe Belcher, UK
Being Italian I'm used to the idea of having an ID card always with me. Italian cards don't contain all the details of the proposed British cards, but whilst I see no reason not to have them, I fully agree that £85 is quite a lot. My Italian card only cost me about 5 euro, can't the government find a cheaper solution?
Giuseppe, Oxford, UK
I would not pay for an ID card, we pay enough in taxes and council tax. If the government want us to carry it, it should be free. Also, let's face it, the contract will be given to an inept private sector company who will make a hash of it and render the data useless due to errors and botched management.
ID cards are a further step towards an Orwellian society. How long before an electronic implant is fitted to all new births? This would be programmable by remote control and would save the expense of Id cards!
Jack Sugarman, England
ID cards are touted as helping the fight against terrorism. Given that the Madrid bombers all had perfectly valid ID, it is hard to see how this claim holds water.
I oppose the idea of the ID cards for many reasons. Firstly the cost is absurd and will be footed first by the tax payer and then we will again be asked to compulsorily pay if we want one. Also it is utterly unclear how this will prevent crime and terrorism. Criminals won't be far behind the technology to forge these cards and steal identities. As for terrorists, they are largely not convicted at the time of an attack and will therefore be more than happy to travel under their own name, until they commit an attack. The governments arguments for the ID cards do not stand up to any scrutiny.
Oliver Spencer, Worthing, UK
I'm a British citizen, but currently I live in the Netherlands. At the start of the year ID cards were introduced, primarily I believe to curb under age drinking etc. It is now an offence to not have appropriate identification on you. I myself see nothing wrong with the ID card system. I think it would be nothing but beneficial for the UK to introduce it as well.
Si Flitter, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Yet again it is another wonderful example of the way this government has forgotten its socialist routes, this regressive scheme will merely make the poor pay more and how can something that is compulsory have a cost?
Personally I'd really like a national standard form of identification but I'm forced to oppose it because I know the government will make a complete mess of the computer system, sending it all ridiculously over budget.
Calvin Graham, Durham, UK
What a waste of money, what real, tangible benefits is this going to bring. It's not going to cut crime because police can already ID criminals easily. It won't stop terrorists as they'll either be non-UK citizens or won't care about being identified. There is just not one good reason to go to all this massive expense.
Iain Alexander, UK
A fantastic idea which merely needs a few creases ironed out. The card itself will not do much but biometric data such as DNA records will mean near instantaneous identification of rapists, for example, so who says the cards won't stop crime?
Imagine how much more deadly the 'final solution' or the pogroms could have been with nationwide databases on all citizens. At first it's only identity, but could easily be extended to include financial, health, convictions, insurance, sexual proclivities and histories, education, religion etc, by a process of salami slicing our civil liberties and right to privacy. Why not just tattoo a number on our arms? Or in these modern times, a bar code like a piece of Danish ham, or a microchip, as we do with dogs?
I don't, as yet, feel strongly either way about ID cards. I just hope that the subject doesn't take up too much parliamentary time (as, for instance, the fox-hunting ban did). There are far more important issues to deal with, such as public transport, investment in renewable energy, the Blair/Brown Africa project, CO2 emissions control. I'm yet to be convinced that ID cards are more important than any of these.
John Grainger, Leeds, UK
All ID cards are welcome if the company or the ministry giving these cards can ensure the safety and the affordability of these cards. Most of the cards become expensive after few months. This is a known fact. Hence people abandon the cards. There is no guarantee of the safety in any cards these days. You may have to get the insurance (an added expense) for these cards. Plus this is an infringement of the civil liberty. The issue is forced by the legislation.
Firozali A Mulla, Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania
Could someone explain how an ID card will stop someone from committing crimes? I would say that 99% of the population are law-abiding, it's the 1% that cause the problems. These people will just obtain one or as many as required. Do the government really think that an ID card will not be forged?
Identity cards would make life simpler for most of us as we would not need to use a passport or driving licence to prove our identity. They would also contribute to national security. I have lived abroad and had an identity card there and carrying it around actually made me feel safer. There are no good grounds for opposing them.
Chris Rundle, East Molesey, Surrey
It is disingenuous of Charles Clarke to blame the Conservative Party for 'killing' the ID Card Bill. It is the prime minister who has 'killed' the bill by opportunistically calling an election when the Parliament still has a year to run.
Andrew Johns, Streatley, Berks