As Liverpool council tells Home Office it will walk alone on ID scheme
ID cards are to be offered to people living across the North West of England from next month.
People living in Cheshire, Cumbria, Lancashire and Merseyside will be able to apply for cards from 4 January next year, the Home Office announced yesterday.
ID cards minister Meg Hillier said in a statement: "Today's exciting announcement is the next stage in offering voluntary identity cards to everyone living in the UK."
The extension of the scheme across the North West of England will mean the cards are now available to a further 4.3 million people.
The cards have already received a hostile reception in Liverpool, where the city council last week voted to ban any activities that would promote the cards from public buildings in the city.
The council backed a motion stating it was "opposed to the introduction of ID cards and the associated database [the National Identity Register]" and pledged to work with ID cards pressure group No2ID to "raise awareness among Liverpool citizens about the dangers of the ID card".
Cards have been available to people living in the Greater Manchester area since last month. However to date just 2,400 people - including Home Office staff working in Manchester and London - have applied for the card, compared to the Greater Manchester's population of about 2.6 million.
The Home Office is promoting the £30 cards on the basis that they can be used instead of a passport to travel throughout Europe and to purchase age-restricted goods.
Phil Booth, national co-ordinator for No2ID, said: "They [the Identity and Passport Service] are trying to tap into the tiny number of people who have expressed an interest in the scheme.
"This is simply an attempt to create an impression of forward motion in a scheme that is not ready for mass rollout."