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Public ID card support holds steady - says gov report

But number of antis increases

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A majority of the public remains in support of the National Identity Scheme, according to the latest figures from the Identity and Passport Service (IPS).

The latest tracking research on the scheme, carried out by Taylor Nelson Sofres and published on 22 October, shows that 60 per cent are in favour with 24 per cent against, 14 per cent neutral and 2 per cent who don't know.

This compares with figures from a year previously that showed support at 61 per cent, with 20 per cent in opposition, 17 per cent neutral and 2 per cent not knowing. The research for these was carried out before the string of reports of government bodies losing personal data.

The leading reason for opposing the scheme in the new research is that it would infringe personal freedom (as cited by 33 per cent of respondents), followed by a belief that the scheme will not work (25 per cent), that it is unnecessary (21 per cent) and too expensive (19 per cent).

The new research involved questioning 2,135 people in the first week of August.

Phil Booth, coordinator of the NO2ID campaign, told GC News that the IPS figures are unreliable because they reflect push questions, in which people are asked if they support the card only after being told of the benefits expected by the service.

The figures contrast with the findings of other polls this year. In August NO2ID reported that a survey it commissioned from ICM found that 48 per cent of people supported ID cards against 46 per cent against, and only 35 per cent supported the full National Identity Scheme against 63 per cent against. In April a YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph showed 43 per cent in favour of the scheme and 48 per cent against.

Booth predicted that opposition will increase as the roll out of the cards begins.

"As the Home Office starts to issue the cards we would expect to see a great difference in the next round, even in their own skewed questionnaire," he said. "They won't be able to delude themselves much longer." ®

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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