BBC News 
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Jacqui Smith says public demand means people will be able to pre-register for an ID card within the next few months.
The cards will be available for all from 2012 but she said: “I regularly have people coming up to me and saying they don’t want to wait that long.”
The home secretary made the claim as she unveiled revised ID scheme plans.
Opposition parties say they would scrap the ID card scheme. The Tories call it a “complete waste of money”. The Lib Dems call it a “laminated poll tax”.
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In a speech to the Social Market Foundation Ms Smith said cards would be issued on a voluntary basis to young people from 2010 and for everyone else from 2012.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
She added: “But I believe there is a demand, now, for cards – and as I go round the country I regularly have people coming up to me and saying they don’t want to wait that long.
“I now want to put that to the test and find a way to allow those people who want a card sooner to be able to pre-register their interest as early as the first few months of next year.”
She told the BBC: “We’ll see where that interest is, and then we’ll see if we can issue some cards to those who’ve expressed an interest by the end of next year.”
People applying for cards and passports from 2012 will have to provide fingerprints, photographs and a signature, which Ms Smith believes will create a market worth about £200m a year.
And in changes to earlier plans the Home Office is talking to retailers and the Post Office about setting up booths to gather biometric data.
The government believes it would be “more convenient” for people and cheaper than setting up its previously planned enrolment centres in large population centres.
In her speech Ms Smith rejected claims handing enrolment over to private firms would compromise security.
“Provided that it is conducted in a secure and trusted environment, by service providers accredited and verified by the IPS and to high and rigorously enforced standards, enrolment should be able to happen at the convenience of the customer – on the high street, at the nearest post office, or at the local shopping centre.”
Full story here.