Timeline: How National ID cards have become a reality

23 January 2008: Leaked documents reveal plans to push back the ID card roll-out three years, until after the next election. The news comes after various high-profile data breaches at government departments. 25 January 2008: BAE and Accenture, two leading systems integrators, pull out from the shortlist of bidders for the ID cards contract. Six other companies remain in the running for the contract.

6 March 2008: The Home Office announces delays to the timeline of the ID card plan, with participation for all UK citizens not being necessary for another two years. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith also explains that the bulk of the population will already have new ID cards before they become mandatory.

8 May 2008 The National Identity Card Scheme has risen by 37 per cent according to a report. It says that costs for the decade from October 2007 will rise from 245 million to 335 million.

23 May 2008 Framework contracts for the ID card scheme are signed with CSC, EDS, Fujitsu, IBM and Thales. The firms will still battle out for the contracts on offer, but the framework speeds up the procurement process.

1 August 2008: The UK National Identity Scheme awards its first contract to French defence systems engineering firm Thales, which signs a four-year contract worth over 18 million.

25 September 2008 Starting November 25, the new identity cards will be issued to foreign nationals'. Pictures are also revealed, showing that the ID cards are the same size as a credit card and contains basic details as well as an electronic chip holding biometric data.

6 November 2008: The ID card roll-out continues with Manchester and London City airport workers, who will be issued biometric cards containing finger print data during a 19-month period.

The previous ID card timeline which shows events in 2007 is available here.