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Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 15:34 GMT
ID cards 'gaining support'
Plans to introduce ID cards in the UK have won backing from most of the people who have given government their views, according to a Home Office minister.

More than 1,500 people and groups have taken part in the consultation over the idea, which lasts until the end of January, Lord Falconer told peers.

But even if the proposals got the go-ahead, it could be 10 years before everyone has an ID card, the minister told the House of Lords.

Under the plans, it would not be compulsory to carry an ID or entitlement card - but Lord Falconer said to be useful, the scheme would have to be universal.

The proposals have been criticised by civil liberties groups but Lord Falconer countered some of their concerns.

Combating illegal labour

He said: "There are real benefits in civil liberties terms to the introduction of an entitlement card...

"It is worth pointing out that the consultation document makes clear that we are not considering a scheme that will require compulsory carrying of the card.

"All that we are talking about is a universal entitlement card for which some people should register.

"We believe the ability to prove one's identity easily without being compelled to carry a card has real benefits in terms of establishing one's position, sometimes against the state."

Lord Falconer said an entitlement card could help crack down on illegal working and identity fraud.

There were already a variety of cards used by the public which showed people's identity but which were not universal, he said.

He said it would take three years to get an ID scheme started, and another seven years to get the right technology in place and issue everyone with a card.


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Forum with Home Office minister Beverley HughesIdentity cards
Home Office Minister Beverley Hughes
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04 Oct 02 | Technology
04 Jul 02 | Politics
04 Jul 02 | Politics
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