ID cards to cost £30

A stand-alone identity card will cost £30, Home Secretary Charles Clarke has announced.

However, a combined passport and ID card is currently estimated to cost £93.

Announcing the ID card cost in Parliament, Mr Clarke said: “No-one who wants to protect their identity need pay more.

“Being able to prove who we are is a fundamental requirement in modern societies, for example when we travel, apply for a job, open a bank account or apply for benefits.

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

Accountancy firm KPMG, which conducted an independent review of the costing methodology, provided the latest cost estimates. The firm also recommended that some cost assumptions should be revisited.

The stand-alone ID cards would last for ten years and serve as a valid travel document within the EU. They would include biometric information – such as facial image, fingerprints and iris patterns – which will also be included on UK passports from next year.

The government plans to make the ID cards scheme compulsory and, from 2008, anyone renewing their passport will be issued with a combined passport and ID card. However, it will not be compulsory to carry an ID card and there will be no new powers for police to demand to see a card.

The government has said that the ID card scheme will help to protect against identity theft and fraud, tackle illegal working and immigration abuse and prevent the use of false and multiple identities, often used by those involved in criminal and terrorist activities.

However, the scheme has proved controversial and has been criticised by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, as well as civil liberties groups.

Mark Oaten, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, said that the £30 cost would “prove too much for many”. He said: “The elderly and poorest in society may be barred from essential services such as healthcare, if they can’t afford the fee.

“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.

“The government have yet to make a compelling argument for why we need ID cards and why the public should believe that the cost of the scheme won’t spiral out of control.”

The current cost of a UK passport is £42.


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