"British citizens who apply for or renew their passport will be automatically registered on the national identity card database under regulations to be approved by MPs in the next few weeks.
The decision to press ahead with the main elements of the national identity card scheme follows a review by the home secretary, Alan Johnson, of the £4.9bn project. Although Johnson said the cards would not be compulsory, critics say the passport measures amount to an attempt to introduce the system by the backdoor.
Johnson said he had halted plans to introduce compulsory identity cards for airline pilots and 30,000 other "critical workers" at Manchester and London City airports this autumn in the face of threats of legal action. Longer term plans to extend compulsory ID cards to other transport industries, such as the railways, as a condition of employment have also been scrapped.
But two batches of draft regulations to be approved by MPs tomorrow and next week are expected to include powers to make the passport a "designated document" under the national identity card scheme. This means that anyone applying for or renewing their passport from 2011 will have their details automatically added to the national identity databases.
The regulations also include powers to levy a fine of up to £1,000 on those who fail to tell the authorities of a change of address or amend other key personal details such as a change of name within three months."
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Is UK Government U-turn on ID cards real?
The new Home Secretary's apparent reversal of government policy on compulsory ID cards yesterday has been criticised as the government spin since they are still intending to include people's details on the ID register when they apply for a passport.