Yep - unfortunately it seems that although the country is mortgaged to the hilt, the pound is worth about the same as it was in 1978, and job losses indicate that only PoundStretcher and McDonalds will be employing anyone by the end of the February, the government still thinks we want to hear about the benefits of ID Cards.
Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, said: "Those benefits include increased protection against identity fraud for the individual and help in protecting our communities against criminals, illegal immigrants and terrorists trying to exploit multiple identities."
Here's the entire missive from the Ministry of Truth which hit my in-box just now:
(Home Office) Benefits of Identity Cards will be delivered soon, Home Secretary tells Manchester
Work is underway to identify a number of areas across the UK where British nationals can be among the first to apply for an identity card, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced when she visited Manchester today.
Further details of plans to introduce the first voluntary identity cards for the general public this autumn were revealed during her visit to meet with young people and the city's business and community leaders.
At a speech in Manchester Town Hall she emphasised the benefits identity cards will bring for the region and the country and set out the progress made in delivering the cards. Building on a commitment made in November she expanded on plans to make a limited number of the cards available early from this autumn.
A brand new website giving the public more information on keeping their identity secure will be launched in the Spring. British nationals interested in getting an identity card will be able to stay up-to-date with developments and can register to be told if the National Identity Service goes live in their region.
While in Manchester the Home Secretary visited Newall Green High School in Wythenshawe to meet young people who could be some of the first to be able to apply for cards from 2010. Together they discussed how identity cards will help young people strike out on their own by opening their first bank account, renting their first flat, or perhaps travelling to Europe for the first time.
Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, said:
"Identity cards are already a reality and thanks to Manchester Airport's agreement to work with us, the city is leading the way in their roll-out. As the cards become more widely available the whole country will see real benefits for citizens, businesses and the country by giving a convenient and secure proof of identity that locks people to one identity.
"That is why we have brought forward our plans and this year will begin offering identity cards on a voluntary basis, giving British nationals the chance to access the benefits of identity cards as soon as possible.
"Those benefits include increased protection against identity fraud for the individual and help in protecting our communities against criminals, illegal immigrants and terrorists trying to exploit multiple identities."
In her speech she stressed that in those areas where identity cards are delivered first residents, businesses, local authorities and others will reap the rewards the cards bring including:
- a universal and simple proof of identity that brings convenience for organisations and individuals - that means an end to the disorganised use of photocopied bank statements, phone bills and birth certificates;
- the Service will give you control of who can see your personal details - that means an end to revealing details about your finances or personal life just to prove who you are and where you live;
- ensuring that foreign nationals living, working and studying here legally are able to easily prove their identity and prevent those here illegally from benefiting from the privileges of Britain; and
- convenient travel in Europe using the identity card.
Identity cards are already a reality for foreign nationals with work underway to issue more than 50,000 by April this year, helping show clearly whether non-EEA residents have the right to work and live in the UK.
Starting in autumn this year the first identity cards for airside workers will be issued at Manchester and London City airports, which have agreed to take part in an 18 month evaluation of the benefits the Service will bring the aviation industry.
From 2010 young people can apply for the card and from 2012 the National Identity Service will begin to roll-out identity cards for the general population in significant numbers.
Geoff Muirhead CBE, Chief Executive of Manchester Airport Group, said:
"We are committed to working closely with IPS to deliver identity cards to airside workers because we believe they offer real benefits to businesses operating at Manchester Airport.
"Improved identity checks will also provide greater portability for individuals in terms of applying for new jobs within the industry where airside clearance is required without the need to repeat lengthy security checks."
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Manchester and London City airports have agreed to work with IPS and the Government as part of the first wave of airports under the critical workers identity card service and will help to develop detailed plans for introducing identity cards from autumn 2009.
2. Identity cards issued to airside workers will bring real benefits to employers, employees and the public. They will help:
- improve the portability of reference checks between employers and airports creating greater flexibility for employers and staff;
- kick start joint work to explore opportunities for streamlining airside pass regimes;
- give holders a highly secure and convenient identity document that can be used to prove their identity and as a travel document for UK citizens within the EEA; and
- help ensure all people using airports are confident about their safety whilst there.
3. Introducing the National Identity Scheme, a vision of how the National Identity Scheme will work from 2012, can be found at http://www.ips.gov.uk/identity
4. Delivery schedule
- From 25 November 2008 we began issuing compulsory identity cards to foreign nationals who come here to work or study.
- In the first half of 2009 we expect to award contracts for application and enrolment, biometrics storage systems and the production of identity cards and passports.
- From Autumn 2009 we will start issuing mandatory identity cards for airside workers - starting with an 18 month evaluation at Manchester and London City airports.
- In late 2009 we will offer a small number of volunteers the chance to enrol for the first identity cards.
- From 2010, starting with young people, we will begin offering identity cards on a voluntary basis to anyone who will benefit from them in their daily lives.
- From 2011/12 identity cards will roll out to the wider population on an entirely voluntary basis.
5. Key Facts about the Service:
- The latest (Nov 2008) estimated cost of the Service for the next ten years is £4,785m for UK citizens, including the issue of both passports and identity cards and £326m for foreign nationals.
- The public supports the benefits of identity cards - more than 18 months research shows on average 59 per cent of people support the Service.
- £1 billion has been saved from the Service since 2007.
- Approximately 70 per cent of this cost will need to be spent in any event to implement secure biometric passports. This means contrary to some claims, there is no large sum of money that could be diverted to spend elsewhere if ID cards were cancelled.
- We expect in the region of 50,000 cards to be issued to foreign nationals by the end of April 2009.
- It is intended that the fee for a British citizen's identity card issued in 2009 or 2010 will be £30 or less.
- We are one of the only EU countries not to have ID cards - 24 of the 27 EU member states already have identity cards.