Oldham among first offered ID card
Reporter: OUR LOBBY CORRESPONDENT
Date online: 06 May 2009
OLDHAMERS will be the first people able to apply for a ID card, it was announced today.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said Greater Manchester has been chosen to launch the controversial scheme.
It will mean that all British citizens across the 10 council areas, who hold a valid UK or child passport and are over the age of 16, will be able to apply for a card, which will cost £30.
Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Phil Woolas said: “There are major advantages of having a single identity card.
“This is a voluntary scheme and it would replace up to six other documents. It is not compulsory to carry them. The evidence from the young people’s ID cards is that they were very popular.
“The fact is that they will save the tax payer money in the long run.”
But Oldham West and Royton MP Michael Meacher has long opposed the scheme.
He said: “I am opposed to identity cards, it will cost £5 billion. I do not think it will be a way of stopping terrorists or criminals, or people who are cheating social security. I wonder what the purpose of the card is.
“Given the Government intends to build a support database checking on all our communications, I wonder if it is more about checking on all of us rather than on serious criminals.
“Everyone is in favour of stopping criminals and terrorists but this is not a cost effective way of doing so.
“This is voluntary so it’s up to people in Oldham if they want to take part, I would oppose any mandatory scheme.”
The city’s airport is also working with the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) as one of the first wave of airports which are introducing ID cards to airside workers from this autumn.
Ms Smith said: “ID cards will deliver real benefits to everyone, including increased protection against criminals, illegal immigrants and terrorists.”
She added: “Our next steps will be for other cities to follow Manchester’s lead before full national coverage from 2012.
“This phased approach will ensure that card coverage occurs hand in hand with the development of supporting technology such as chip and pin readers.”
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