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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 October 2005, 18:30 GMT 19:30 UK
Stand alone ID cards 'to be 30'
Demonstration ID card (BBC)
ID cards are being debated by MPs again next week
People will have to pay 30 for a stand alone identity card, Home Secretary Charles Clarke has announced.

But it is expected most people will want a combined passport and ID card, costing an estimated 93 each to make. The cards will be valid for 10 years.

Revealing the 30 cost, Mr Clarke said: "No-one who wants to protect their identity need pay more."

The potential price of the cards was among criticisms levelled at the scheme, which MPs debate next week.

Compulsion

A London School of Economics study previously claimed that on the best case scenario it would cost about 170 to produce each card and passport - and probably much more.

Whatever the cost it still beggars belief that the government wants to make people pay this plastic poll tax
David Davis

The government plans to eventually make the cards compulsory, although people would not have to carry them with them under current proposals.

From 2008, everybody renewing their passport would have to get an identity card too.

The cards would carry biometric data, such as iris scans, fingerprints and facial scans.

The latest cost estimates come from a report compiled for the Home Office by accountancy firm KPMG, which also suggested ministers look again at some of their cost assumptions.

'Beggars belief'

Mr Clarke also announced plans to allow people to register for the ID card when they apply for the criminal records checks needed for some jobs and voluntary work.

He said being able to prove one's identity was a fundamental part of modern life.

"A national ID card will be a robust, secure way to establish that identities are real, not fabricated," he said.

The elderly and poorest in society who may be barred from essential services such as healthcare, if they can't afford the fee
Mark Oaten

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, as well as civil liberties groups, are opposed to the scheme.

Tory shadow home secretary David Davis argued the cards would do nothing to prevent benefit fraud and illegal immigration, or effectively counter terrorism.

"Whatever the cost it still beggars belief that the government wants to make people pay this plastic poll tax," said Mr Davis.

"It will do nothing to prevent benefit fraud, to combat illegal immigration or to counter terrorism effectively.

"In fact, the one thing we can be sure of is that it will undermine our civil liberties."

'Extra tax costs'

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Mark Oaten said 30 would be too much for many people.

"The elderly and poorest in society who may be barred from essential services such as healthcare, if they can't afford the fee," he said.

"Only about 20% of the population will want to apply for a stand alone ID card, leaving the rest of the population to still pay over 90 for a combined ID card and passport.

"In addition, we will all be paying through our taxes for the cost of implementing this scheme."




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