Home Office brings ID cards to London with youth push

ID card

The controversial National Identity Scheme is set to arrive in London next month, as the Home Office starts offering ID cards to students in the capital from 8 February.

A version of the cards has been doled out to so-called foreign nationals since 2008, with a British edition made available in the northwest last year.

Now, the Home Office is marketing the 30 ID cards to anyone aged 18-14 living in London as a way to identify yourself to buy alcohol or travel in Europe.

"The national identity card will prove an extremely useful tool for young people in London, whether they are opening a bank account, buying age-restricted goods such as computer games or DVDs, entering a nightclub or travelling to Europe," Home Office minister Meg Hiller said in a statement:

The Home Office claimed that 10 per cent of passports lost by the under-30 crowd go missing in nightclubs, saying "as an identity card fits snugly into a wallet, it should help avoid the card becoming lost."

Anti-ID card lobby group NO2ID disagreed with the Home Office's marketing, however. "If it were not for the sinister consequences for anyone foolish enough to be a guinea pig, this would be ludicrous as well as wasteful," national coordinator Phil Booth argued in a statement.

"You can spend 10 on a proof-of-age card from an independent charity with no other commitment; or you can pay 30 now, be fingerprinted, and agree to account for your personal details to the Home Office for the rest of your life," he explained.

Click here for more on the ID card programme.