Plans to scrap identity cards for British citizens within 100 days were announced today by the Home Secretary. The National Identity Register, the database that holds personal information and fingerprints of card holders, would also be destroyed under this first piece of legislation introduced by the coalition government.
The Identity Documents Bill is the first piece of legislation introduced to Parliament by the new government.
The bill invalidates ID cards, which means that holders will no longer be able to use them to prove their identity or as travel documents in Europe.
The government aims to have the bill pass through Parliament and enacted by August. The move will save taxpayers around £86m over the next four years.
You can watch a video of the Home Secretary explaining the government’s decision at the bottom of this page.
‘Handing power back to the people’
Home Secretary Theresa May said, ‘This bill is a first step of many that this government is taking to reduce the control of the state over decent, law-abiding people, and to hand power back to them.
‘With swift parliamentary approval, we aim to consign identity cards and the intrusive ID card scheme to history within 100 days.’
Taking swift action
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said, ‘The wasteful, bureaucratic and intrusive ID card scheme represents everything that has been wrong with government in recent years. By taking swift action to scrap it, we are making it clear that this government won’t sacrifice people’s liberty for the sake of ministers’ pet projects.
‘Cancelling the scheme and abolishing the National Identity Register is a major step in dismantling the surveillance state - but ID cards are just the tip of the iceberg. Today marks the start of a series of radical reforms to restore hard-won British freedoms.’