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Last Updated: Monday, 7 July, 2003, 06:37 GMT 07:37 UK
Plans for '40 ID cards'
An Asylum Registration Card (ARC)
ID cards are widespread in EU
People aged over 16 in the UK may soon have to pay nearly 40 for a compulsory identity card, it is being reported.

In a leaked letter to Cabinet ministers Home Secretary David Blunkett said he believed the case for a "universal identity card in the UK" was overwhelming, according to the Sunday Times.

The cards would carry information identifying their owner - a fingerprint, for example, or a picture of their iris or other facial characteristics, the paper reports.

Individuals would not have to carry the card at all times but would have produce it within a few days if asked to do so by police, the document says.

The letter dated 25 June was officially addressed to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, as chairman of the domestic affairs cabinet committee, said the paper.

We are strengthened in our liberty if our identity is protected from theft; if we are able to access the services we are entitled to; and if our community is better protected from terrorists and organised criminals
Home secretary David Blunkett

It quotes Mr Blunkett as saying "a highly organised minority" would "campaign vocally" against the cards but that he believed the argument that ID cards would inhibit freedom was "wrong."

"We are strengthened in our liberty if our identity is protected from theft; if we are able to access the services we are entitled to; and if our community is better protected from terrorists and organised criminals," he wrote.

A total of 11 European Union member states already have identity cards.

In the letter Mr Blunkett reportedly said he had already discussed the cost of the scheme with the Treasury.

The cards would be free for people on low incomes or receiving benefits, for 16-year-olds and retired people above the age of 75.

The rest of the population would pay 39 if the free and discounted cards were paid for out of taxation.




SEE ALSO:
ID card scheme panned by watchdog
13 Feb 03  |  Politics
ID cards 'need to be smart'
12 Feb 03  |  Technology
Doubts over ID card scheme
24 Jan 03  |  Technology
Backlash against ID card scheme
14 Jan 03  |  Technology
ID card fraud warning
08 Jan 03  |  Politics


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