Wednesday, Sept 24, 2008
Identity cards could be handed out to children as young as 14, a home office minister has suggested.
The first ID cards are due to be offered to 16 and 17-year-olds from 2010 as part of a plan to introduce the controversial scheme in stages.
But Meg Hillier said the age range was still “up for grabs” and could be lowered “if they prove popular”.
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She also said the scheme might be too far advanced for the Tories to “unpick” if they came to power in 2010.
Speaking at a “No ID, No Sale” fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference, Ms Hillier said a ministerial working party was considering extending the scheme to younger children and was talking to the universities and youth groups about the idea.
She said she had been “struck” by a visit to Hungary, where 14-year-olds routinely carried ID cards – and she pointed out that six-year-olds were already fingerprinted for visas.
‘Full steam ahead’
The Conservatives and Lib Dems have both said they would scrap the ID card scheme, which they say will cost too much and threatens civil liberties.
But Ms Hillier said the Tories would find it difficult to “devalidate” the cards that had already been issued and scrap the database that was also being used for passports.
“There isn’t an easy way to unpick this scheme, quite rightly because it is invaluable.”
This article was posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 10:39 am