The government says the ID card database will become a national population register of basic personal information for the public sector to verify identity and has called for the development of a children's register as well.
The Treasury confirmed this week that the newly created Identity and Passport Service (IPS) will take over the work being done by the Office for National Statistics on the Citizen Information Project to create an adult population register containing a person's name, address, date of birth and a unique ID reference number.
Des Browne, chief secretary to the Treasury, said in a statement to parliament: "The IPS should be responsible for developing the national identity register (NIR) as an adult population database. Over time public sector systems, business processes and culture should be adapted to use the NIR as the definitive source of contact details in the longer term."
The NIR will only contain details of adults over the age of 16 but a national child population database could also be on the cards.
Browne said: "The Department for Education and Skills should also consider whether there is scope to realise further efficiency and effectiveness benefits through a child population register."
Until the NIR is up and running the Treasury said it should be a priority for HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions to look at short-term arrangements for wider use of the National Insurance number and ways to better share personal information.
Browne said: "There is significant value to both citizens and the public sector in greater sharing of contact details — name, address, date of birth, reference numbers — in a secure way across the public sector."