UK Government Scraps compulsory ID card scheme

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has backed down on her proposal to make ID cards compulsory.

New plans disclosed show that British citizens will be able to choose between an ID card and a new Biometric passport in what looks as a watering down of the whole scheme, as put by the Telegraph this morning.

The Mirror reports that a vote to make them compulsory has been delayed although people living in Britain but coming from outside the European Union would still have to carry ID cards containing their fingerprints and iris-scans, which the new passports will also carry.

The ID Card scheme, which has been mired in controversy following the data debacles of the last few months, could see personal details of millions stored on a microchip embedded on a plastic card and is estimated to cost £5.6 billion over a decade.

Both the Conversative party and the Liberal Democrats are against ID cards in general given the current record of the present government when it comes to handling massive IT projects and citizen data.

David Cameron has promised to scrap the whole ID card scheme if he becomes PM at the next election, especially as the passports are said to cost £100 each.

Proponents of the ID Card scheme argue that the system will help make the country more secure, reduce identity fraud and illegal working.

Last year, the Daily Mail reported that James Hall, the official in charge of the supposedly-voluntary ID Cars scheme, said the Government would allow its citizens to opt out - but in return they must handle back their passport.