Your papers, please
Blair goes on ID card offensive
A sample ID card
Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he will push on with ID cards - insisting that as with CCTV and DNA the issue is one of "modernity" not civil liberties.
An "action plan" would be published by the Home Office in December to "explore the benefits" people could get from ID cards in 10 years' time, he said.
He told his monthly news briefing all non-EU nationals will need them to work or access public services from 2008.
But he also confirmed the timetable for Britons' cards has slipped to 2009.
The Tories and Lib Dems oppose ID cards - which are not due to become compulsory until at least 2010 - and say they would scrap them if they got into power.
Mr Blair said ID cards would become compulsory first for non-EU overseas residents who come to Britain for more than three months.
They would help tackle illegal immigration, terrorism and identity fraud, while also protecting the vulnerable and the solving of crimes, he said.
Mr Blair dismissed critics of the scheme's cost, insisting the project was on budget.
He said biometric passports had to be introduced anyway and they made up 70% of the cost of ID cards.
Mr Blair, who also highlighted government IT schemes which he said showed such a large database could be made to work, said he wanted to make a major effort to sell the potential gains for people.
"We need to lift our sights a little. I don't think, in the debate so far, that we have even begun to explore the benefits that we will see in, say, ten years time," he said.
posted by Steve @ 10:43:00 AM