Manchester is to become Britain’s first ID card city.
Ministers are set to confirm that residents there can voluntarily sign up for the controversial scheme.
Anyone who wants an ID card or biometric passport will go to their local post office or pharmacy to have their fingerprints read and stored along with a face scan.
The card will cost £30 and the shops could charge another £30 to collect the data, which will be stored on a Government database.
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Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is meeting Post Office managers and pharmacy trade groups to discuss the plans.
“The companies interested in working with us to deliver the service will play a key role in ensuring the public can apply for an ID card or passport simply and easily,” she said.