First 50,000 ID cards issued in November

'We're ramping things up in April. By how much? Not telling...'

'We're ramping things up in April. By how much? Not telling...'

The government has revealed it will produce an initial run of 50,000 ID cards before ramping up production in April 2009.

Foreign nationals coming to the UK will be issued cards from 25 November under the £4.7bn scheme.

The government has yet to put a figure on how many ID cards will be issued after the initial deployment, saying "volumes will rise rapidly" from April 2009 but adds the rollout will depend on "the speed of implementation" and "the nature of immigration categories brought into the scheme".

The revelations were made by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith in a written answer to parliament.

The ID scheme will be rolled out over the next four years, starting with about 10 million "critical" workers - such as airport staff - in 2009, young people in 2010 and the rest of the UK public in 2011/12, when people will have a choice of a passport or ID card.

Home Office minister Meg Hillier also told parliament that the results of talks with "key stakeholders" in the public, private and voluntary sectors from across the UK will be released in the autumn.

The Home Office's statements come after it emerged that adverstising gurus have been employed to publicise the first wave of the scheme.

The government has said people will face fines of up to £1,000 for skipping biometric scans.