Press release

ID cards consigned to history by coalition government's first Home Office bill

ID cards will be scrapped under the coalition government's first Home Office Bill to pass through Parliament.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Identity Documents Bill is due to receive Royal Assent today.

All ID cards will be cancelled within one month of Royal Assent and the national identity register, the database which contains the biographic information and biometric fingerprint data of card holders, will be physically destroyed within two months.

Bullying and ineffective

Home Office minister Damian Green said: ‘The identity card scheme represented the worst of government. It was intrusive, bullying, ineffective and expensive.

‘That is why the first Home Office bill of this coalition government has scrapped ID cards and the National Identity Register.

‘The government is committed to scaling back the power of the state and restoring civil liberties. This is just the first step in the process of restoring and maintaining our freedoms.’

The Identity Documents Bill invalidates the identity card, meaning that within one month, holders will no longer be able to use them to prove their identity or as a travel document in Europe.

Following Royal Assent, a counter will be placed on the Identity and Passport Service website counting down the time until cards become invalid.

The identity card scheme and associated work around biometrics has already cost the taxpayer £292 million. It will stop planned future investment in the scheme of £835m.

All existing cardholders will be notified in writing and the Identity and Passport Service will now inform international border agencies, travel operators and customers of the change in law.

Notes to editors

  1. The Identity Documents Bill can be viewed on the Parliament website

  2. Cards will become invalid within one month. This will allow those who are immediately about to travel or are currently travelling to use their ID card.

3. Under the bill, the Office of the Identity Commissioner has been closed.

4. Cancelling identity cards will save the taxpayer around £86m over the next four years once one-off costs like decommissioning costs, contract termination and asset write-offs are taken into account. Planned future investment set out in the Identity Card Cost Report 2009 of £835 million up to 2019 will be stopped.

5. For more information about the decommissioning of the national identity scheme, see the IPS website

Published 21 December 2010