Home Secretary Sets Out next Steps on ID Cards
Reference: 331/2004 - Date: 27 Oct 2004 10:50
The Government is making good progress with its plans for national, compulsory ID cards, the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, said today as he published the Home Office’s response to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s report on ID cards.
A national, compulsory ID card scheme will ensure that the UK can meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. It will: help protect the UK against terrorism, organised crime, identity theft, illegal immigration and illegal working; allow UK citizens to travel and carry out everyday transactions easily and securely; and ensure that public services are only used by those entitled to them.
The Government is announcing today, in response to the comments of the Home Affairs Select Committee, some refinements to the scheme, which are:
- A single, universal ID card for all UK nationals, to be issued alongside passports. This will simplify the operation of the scheme, and reflects public support for a universal card.
- A simpler, more effective structure to deliver and run the scheme. A new executive agency will be set up incorporating the UK Passport Service and working closely with the Home Office’s Immigration and Nationality Directorate.
- The verification process will be simpler and more secure. There will be a standardised on-line verification service which will make the system more secure against fraud and provide a full audit trail.
The changes will help ensure that the national ID card scheme will be efficient and effective, delivering maximum benefits.
Mr Blunkett said:
"Our plans to bring in a national ID card scheme lie at the heart of our work to ensure that the UK can meet the challenges of a changing world. Biometric ID cards will provide a simple and secure means of verifying identity. Together with electronic border controls they will help us tackle illegal migration and working, organised crime, terrorist activity, identity theft, and fraudulent access to public services, as well as helping our citizens travel freely and complete everyday transactions securely and easily. I am pleased that the Home Affairs Committee accepted the clear and convincing case in favour of a national ID card scheme.
"As I have made clear from the start, this is a long-term project and we are determined to get it right. Pre-legislative scrutiny and consultation are a key part of that approach, allowing us to continue to refine and improve plans for the operation of the scheme to ensure it is as effective and efficient as possible.
"I welcome the constructive suggestions the Home Affairs Committee and others have made, and the improvements to the scheme I am announcing today will make our planned scheme simpler, clearer and more effective. I will now bring forward legislation to bring in a compulsory, national ID card scheme."
The Home Office also published today a summary of responses to its public consultation on, and research into, the public’s views on ID cards.
Notes for Editors
Both documents published today will be available online at:
- The UK Government published a consultation paper on Entitlement Cards and Identity Fraud on 3 July 2002. The consultation period ended on 31 January 2003. The Home Secretary set out government plans for an ID card scheme and published the public consultation and polling results on 11th November 2003. These can be found, along with the documents published today, at
(Summary of findings from consultation)
(Response to HAC report)
‘Legislation on Identity Cards: A consultation’ was published on 26 April 2004 and views were sought on the draft legislation during a 12 week consultation period which ended on 20 July 2004. 766 responses were received to the consultation on legislation, including 109 from organisations.
The Home Affairs Select Committee published its report on identity cards on 30 July 2004, including its pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill. The Committee concluded that the Government had made a convincing case for proceeding with the introduction of identity cards, and raised a number of detailed points.
The first phase of public research, between July 2002 and January 2003, showed that 79 per cent of respondents were in favour, or very much in favour, of the introduction of identity cards. Of the others, 13 per cent were against and 8 per cent were unsure. A summary of findings was published in November 2003.
The more recent phase of research, published for the first time today, was carried out in June and July 2004. This asked more specific questions about the details of the Government’s proposals. There was widespread awareness that the Government is considering the introduction of ID cards although a lesser understanding of the detailed proposals. For example, at least 70 per cent had not heard of the term ‘biometric information’ before. A sample taken from four ethnic minority groups was also asked about their overall support for the scheme. There was a clear majority in favour in all groups – especially with Chinese respondents (84 per cent). Support for ID cards had increased among all four groups since 2003.
This recent phase of research is published today alongside responses from individuals and organisations to the consultation paper published in April 2004. These can be found at the web links above.
A development partner (PA Consulting) bringing in detailed expertise from outside Government was appointed in May 2004 to help determine the best way of designing and implementing the scheme (Home Office Press Notice 196/2004).
Published: 27 Oct 2004