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Tories attack ID card fingerprint plans

'We will abolish this costly plastic poll tax'

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Shadow home secretary David Davis has criticised the government's plan to make people travel to interview centres to provide a biometric for the national identity card.

He said it would force people to travel, in some cases hundreds of miles, at their own expense to an interview centre, and would hit the elderly and the less well off the most.

Davis branded the proposals an "outrage", and repeated the Conservative pledge to abolish ID cards if they get into power.

"It is bad enough that we will be forced to pay for an ID card, but to have to pay to go to a government centre to be interviewed and fingerprinted is an outrage," he said.

"The costs will hit low income families and pensioners hardest. Conservatives will abolish this costly plastic poll tax."

He highlighted the examples that somebody living in Cambridge would be forced to make a 62 mile round trip to Bury St Edmunds, and in Stranraer residents face a 128 mile trip to Kilmarnock.

A Home Office spokesperson told GC News: "This has always been the case (for people to be fingerprinted from 2009) and we have been open about it. It is likely to happen in small volumes at first."

The spokesperson said the decision to take fingerprint biometrics (for all 10 fingerprints) and store them in the National Identity Register was outlined in the action plan published last year.

The interview centre locations are: Aberdeen, Aberystwyth, Andover, Armagh, Barnstaple, Belfast, Berwick-Upon-Tweed, Birmingham, Blackburn, Boston, Bournemouth, Bristol, Bury St Edmonds, Camborne, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Coleraine, Crawley, Derby, Dover, Dumfries, Dundee, Edinburgh, Exeter, Galashiels, Glasgow, Hastings, Hull, Inverness, Ipswich, Kendal, Kilmarnock, Kings Lynn, Leeds, Leicester, Lincoln, Liverpool, London, Luton, Maidstone, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Newport, Newport (Isle of Wight), Northallerton, Northampton., Norwich, Oban, Omagh, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Reading, Scarborough, Shrewsbury, Sheffield, St Austell, Stirling, Stoke-on- Trent, Swansea, Swindon, Warwick, Wick, Wrexham, Yeovil and York.

From 2010, all passport applicants, even if they are simply renewing their old one, will also have to apply for an identity card. Fingerprints and iris scans are also required for second generation passports, due out in 2009.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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